What To Do With All That Leftover Candy?

On November 1st, the day after Halloween, parents have to decide how their household will handle all that candy.  Halloween is a good opportunity to teach kids that having candy occasionally and consuming it mindfully is okay – they won’t suddenly develop diabetes or gain a million pounds. Banning candy altogether makes candy seem more appealing to kids. Rewarding kids with candy glorifies it. Finding the right balance seems to make sense, and yet, there is still so much candy!  Is anyone wondering what to do with all that candy?


Here are some suggestions:

  1. Donate the candy to local homeless shelters or foster homes in your area. To find local homeless shelters in your area click here and to find local foster homes click here.
  1. Halloween can be sent to our troops abroad through Operation Gratitude. They ask that you send Halloween candy by mid-November, and to please not send any chocolate. Please include the total weight of candy you are sending, and include a “donation form.”   Candy can be sent to:                       

Operation Gratitude/21100 Lassen Street/Chatsworth, CA 91311

Attn: Angel Cuevas/Receiving (818)469-0448

  1. Check out the Halloween Candy BuyBack Program. You can enter your zip code and find local dental offices that will buy back your child’s candy. Usually it’s $1/1 lb of candy.
  1. Parents can do their own buyback program. For every 1lb of candy, kids can receive money, a book, or a toy.
  1. Try donating candy to local charities such as Ronald McDonald House, nursing homes, food pantries, and children’s hospitals.

6.  Use it for next year….does candy really expire!?

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Trick-or-Treating for Glow in the Dark Fangs?

As it gets closer to Halloween, households across the country will have an important decision to make: what to give out to their trick or treaters. I have always loved the idea of giving out something else besides candy. Not because I am against candy, but more because ambitious Halloweeners often come home with so much candy. I’m not suggesting everyone stop giving candy. But would it be so bad if half the houses on your block gave out something else? This of course has to be done though carefully; you don’t want to be that house – the one that gives out pennies and pencils that kids want to skip the next year.  Giving out a variety of items year to year shows kids that candy is not forbidden and also broadens their view on what’s fun for Halloween.

How about glow in the dark fangs? Imagine herds of kids walking away from your house in the dark and all you see are glow in the dark fangs! Other options could be Hallowescreen-shot-2016-09-19-at-12-54-02-pmen whistles, glow in the dark sticky stars, jumping, spiders or glow in the dark skeletons that can climb down the wall by themselves (or these glow in the dark skeletons).  Glow in the dark sticky eyeballs are fun or Halloween bubbles.

The price of these non-candy options are comparable to the price of candy and can actually be cheaper depending on what you get.  A 5 pound bag of mini Tootsie Rolls is $10.59 from Costco, which is $0.009 each. But no one ever takes just one, so for two it would be $0.018 per trick-or-treater.   A 130-piece assortment of candy made by Wrigley’s (skittles, lifesaver gummies) is $0.10 per item.  The Glow-in-the-dark fangs are only $0.08/fang and came in a package of 72 fangs for $6.00.  Jumping spiders are just $0.03 each. An pre-assorted mixed bag of  non-candy options would be $0.15 per item..  Color scratch bats/pumpkins and spiders are $0.18/item.   Glow in the dark sticky eyeballs are $0.21/eyeball. Halloween bubbles are $0.29/item. Happy Halloween toothbrushes are $0.39 but be careful, this could fall in the “pennies and pencils” catergory of boring non-candy options. For more fun non-candy Halloween giveaways, check out this Pinterest page.

Going to a Halloween Party?
Here are some of my favorite items to bring with you:

For more options and details on how to make these,  check out this pinterest board.

Stay tuned for my next post on, “What to Do With All That Candy?”

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Having Fun With Wafer Cones

Last night, my kids (5 and 3) were thrilled to have wafer cones filled with assorted flavored yogurts, raspberries, blueberries and sliced almonds for dessert.  They were laughing as they were layering the different colored yogurts with the fruit, carefully alternating each one, while doing it completely on their own.  I began to wonder – at what age will this stop being a fun dessert?

High in antioxidants, this is a powerful anti-inflammatory snack for anyone looking to reduce inflammation – whether that’s an athlete in the peak of training, or someone with arthritis.  And it is filling.  With a variety of monounsaturated fats, different textures, flavors, colors, this snack is not only wholesome but it will satisfy your hunger.

This is  balanced snack with all the food groups:

  • Dairy:  Greek yogurt, yogurt
  • Protein: Nuts, added protein powder, or Greek yogurt
  • Carbohydrates: Granola, cereal fruit, flavored yogurt
  • Fats: Cashews, walnuts, almonds etc, coconut, cacao nibs, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, ground flaxseed, chia seeds
  • Fruit:  Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries are a favorite, but anything can work! Dried fruit too!

When this gets boring, try adding your favorite trail mix to a wafer cone: mixed nuts, kettle corn, dried fruit etc.  

You can also blend your favorite frozen fruit with your favorite kind of milk, and make “strawberry ice cream” or “banana ice cream.”  Add it right on top of the cone.  Of course, you could skip the cone, and just put it in a bowl.  But that’s not as much fun.  The cones are 20 calories each and add a nice crunch.

If you are following a gluten free and/or dairy free diet, try using soy or coconut yogurt. Look for wafer cones that are gluten free (there are several brands) and choose a gluten free granola.

After careful analysis, I decided that this snack will always be fun  – for any age!

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How To Hydrate Effectively: What Should You Drink, How Much, And When?

 Staying hydrating is an important nutrition strategy that can elevate your performance. Even a mild degree of dehydration can impair exercise performance as well as mental and cognitive performance. The best strategy is to be proactive with your hydration. This means you should begin hydrating upon waking up. Aim to consume about half of your body weight in fluid throughout the day; for example, if you are 170 lbs, aim for 85 fluid ounces per day. But this is only a general rule of thumb – the exact of amount of fluid required will vary based on the type of exercise, duration and intensity of activity, body weight, as well as environmental conditions such as heat, humidity, and altitude.

Before your workout, aim for 5-7 ml of fluid per kilogram of body weight (to convert pounds to kilograms, divide weight by 2.2) 4 hours before training, and then 2 hour before training, plan on taking 3-5 ml of fluid per kilogram body weight if your urine is still dark.  This will allow enough time for absorption. While at practice, you’ll want to maintain hydration levels. This may be challenging because often athletes are so focused on the field that they can easily get distracted and forget to drink. Heat and sun can blunt the thirst mechanism, so you may not even feel thirsty. If an athlete were to wait until he or she felt thirsty, they might already be mildly dehydrated which would be too late! To maximize performance and minimize cramping, aim to hydrate on a schedule to in order to most effectively maintain hydration levels.

The best way to determine exactly how much fluid you need during activity is to weigh yourself before and after practice. Aim to be “weight neutral,” meaning that your weight is the same both before and after practice. If you are losing 2% or more of your body weight after a workout, then you might be at high risk for dehydration and cramping. If this is the case, expect that your performance will suffer. Another way to evaluate hydration is to assess your urine color. Hydrated urine will be pale yellow. Watch out for dark urine which could reflect dehydration.

After practice, rehydration is an important aspect of recovery. For every pound lost after practice, you should add 20-24 fluid ounces of a sports drink or water to rehydrate. Adding sodium after a workout can aid in the rehydration process.  You’ll want to continue hydrating throughout the day in order to properly recover and to ensure you are adequately hydrated for the next day’s practice.

4 hours before, aim for 5-7 ml of fluid per kilogram of body weight (to convert pounds to kilograms, divide weight by 2.2)

2 hour before training, plan on taking 3-5 ml of fluid per kilogram body weight if your urine is still dark.    

DURING YOUR WORKOUT:Aim for 6-12 oz of fluid every 15-20 minutes during your workout.

AFTER YOUR WORKOUT:For every pound lost after practice, you should add 20-24 fluid oz of a sports drink or water to rehydrate.  Add sodium to aid in rehydration. 

SODIUM:Another important factor in preventing cramps is sodium. Large amounts of sodium are lost through sweat and should be replaced, especially if you are a heavy sweater or lose a lot of weight throughout your workout.   Sodium triggers your thirst mechanism and helps to reduce fluid losses from the urine. In essence, sodium helps to keep you hydrated.   Adding sodium into the diet aids in the hydration process, and also can help prevent muscle cramping.

Add sodium to the diet if:

  • You are a heavy sweater
  • You are losing more than 2% of your body weight throughout practice
  • You are practicing longer than 1 hour
  • You are experiencing cramping (this could be during or after a workout).
  • You are practicing on hot sunny day

Add Gatorade, pretzels, pickles, and salty snacks to boost sodium consumption. Taking a salt supplement is usually unnecessary.

High Sodium Choices  (Amount of sodium in mg)

Salt 1 tsp. 2400 mg

Pretzels (twist) 10 500mg

Tomato Juice (V8) 1 cup 880 mg

Gatorade 20 oz. 270 mg

GatorLytes 1pkt 770 mg

Tomato Sauce ½ cup 750 mg

Seasoned bread crumb mix ½ cup 1056mg

Canned chix. noodle soup 1 cup 1106 mg

Teriyaki Sauce 2 T 1380 mg

Pickle 1 lg, sour 1631 mg

Tuna, canned in water 3 oz. 320 mg

Turkey, roasted 3 oz. 750mg

Turkey Bacon 1 oz. 650 mg

Italian Dressing 2T 550 mg

 In addition, adding calcium (as found in dairy products) and potassium (as found in bananas, fruits, and vegetables) may also help to reduce cramping.






  1. Aim to drink water or sports drinks before, during and after all activity.
  2. Don’t rely on thirst because by then it might be too late.
  3. Assess urine color to determine hydration; pale yellow (like lemonade) reflects good hydration, and dark yellow (like apple juice) reflects dehydration.
  4. Weigh yourself before and after workouts. For every pound lost, add 20-24 oz of water or a sports drink after a workout + sodium.
  5. Add sodium from sports drinks, salty foods, table salt, and snacks.
  6. You can also try adding extra calcium from dairy sources (milk, cheese, yogurt) and potassium from fruits and vegetables to reduce cramping.


Wendy Sterling, MS, RD, CSSD, CEDRD-S is the Team Nutritionist of the Oakland Athletics. She is also a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian and Approved Supervisor through the International Eating Association of Eating Disorder Professionals, and a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics in the Bay Area in California. She is the co-author of “How to Nourish Your Child Through an Eating Disorder” and “No Weigh! A Teens Guide to Body Image, Food, and Emotional Wisdom.” For more information, check out her website at http://sterlingnutrition.com/

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