This is a guest post written by author of “The Piccolo Chef Cookbook: Healthy Cooking with Your Kids” and Rodeo Realty agent, Tina Fanelli Moraccini.
I used to love Halloween. I loved the chance to dress up, be someone else for a day, trick or treat. Now, I still love it, but it comes with its own set of problems. Namely, the blatant doling out of candy filled with GMOs, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, artificial coloring – and the list only gets worse from there.
So how do we, as parents, protect our children from this garbage while still allowing them to have fun and participate in the festivities?
Well, thankfully, we are not in the 1970s, when it was almost impossible for my mom to find me decent natural candy. We live in a day where you can find the natural or organic version of any of your favorite treats, cereals and desserts! Just think of it: Fruit Loops without the artificial color!
We have a ritual in our family. We do all the Halloween fun just like anyone else – including the trick-or-treating. My kids fill up the bags with tons of what I call contraband. I mean pounds of the stuff. We have a wonderful time with all our friends, walking the neighborhood, seeing the costumes, decorations and partying. But once we’re home, those bags get dumped into a box that is being shipped straight to Operation Shoebox.
Yes folks, off to the troops.
I had a hard time reconciling sending them something so harmful until I had a conversation with a marine on leave from Afghanistan. He assured me that they really do look forward to the Halloween candy that is shipped to them from OS (as well as other items, especially personal hygiene products such as soap and wipes), and that it really makes their day.
After the candy gets boxed up, and my kids are staring at me wide-eyed, I break out the good stuff. Yes, I have the organic “Almond Joy”, the organic “Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups”, jelly beans and “M&Ms” of all colors (made with vegetable dyes), gummy candy, hard candy and even bubble gum!
They still get all the candy fun without the horrible side effects!
See, my problem is not with sugar. Sugar is not the enemy. It’s all that other stuff that little kids’ bodies can do without. You will enjoy the benefit of better behavior (if your children are affected by artificial colors and flavors, the way I was as a child) and less chemicals in their bodies, which can only be a good thing.