These days Halloween candy crowds the aisles of store shelves within minutes of the final back-to-school sale. And while it might seem like a good idea to stock up during the early-bird sales, too often "the candy is gone by the time it's actually Halloween, so you have to go for a second batch," says Melinda Johnson, a dietitian and director of the didactic program in dietetics at Arizona State University in Tempe.
Not only do you end up spending more, there's a good chance you end up sampling more. (By the same token, don't stray into the after-holiday clearance sales.)
"This is an ideal time of year, leading into the major holidays, to add structure to family meals and make treats scheduled so they're not available all day," says Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Halloween alone won't make kids fat or instill a lifetime of poor eating habits," she adds, "but it can be a great time to implement some healthier habits."
Here are some tips from Johnson and the academy to help your family avoid a Halloween candy hangover:
• Stock up at the last minute. As Johnson noted, the longer the candy is in your house, the more likely it is that everyone will sample it before the big day.