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Turning the Halloween candy tug-of-war into health lesson

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TYLER (KYTX) - By now you've probably dumped out your kids candy to make sure it was safely wrapped. What comes next with the sack of sweets could be a lasting learning experience to teach kids where sweets fit into their diet.

Abigail Duty already has a plan in place for her son Jake's post Halloween candy cravings.
"I will put it all up in the top of the pantry and he can have it if he finishes his lunch or his dinner," says Abigail Duty, a mom.

Trick or treating is fun for kids, but can be downright scary for parents, considering the average Jack-O-Lantern fits about 250 pieces of candy. "We definitely have to ration it out and not too late in the evening or we'll be bouncing off the walls at night," says Abby.

Health experts say there are tricks parents can use for those Halloween treats. "Your kids might already notice that if your kids eat a bunch of candy one night they might get a stomach upset that's actually a good teaching tool that's not good food for your body," says Cassie Ebert, ETMC Olympic Center Exercise Specialist.

Cassie Ebert, with the ETMC Olympic Center says you can barter with the candy, exchanging the sugar for a new toy, night at the movies or a day at the park. "Out of sight out of mind is helpful instead of gorging on it all of the time," says Cassie Ebert. "It keeps the kids from asking-- can I have some more, can I have some more." 

Cassie says after trick or treating is a perfect time to talk portion control. "You can offer it with snacks, but pair it with something healthy, an apple and candy, some peanut butter crackers and candy, so that it is not only candy that is filling them up," says Cassie Ebert.

Halloween may only come once a year, but Abby follows her sweets rule year round. "I like to treat sugar as a special treat. It's not something you get to eat all of the time," says Abby.

If you don't want to toss the candy, Cassie says you can freeze some of it. That way, the family is not eating the estimated 9,000 calories and 200 grams of fat at once from that average Halloween jack-o-lantern.

Another good piece of advice from Cassie-- don't go buy all of the Halloween candy that's on sale. 
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