All types of Halloween treats bombard you the second you walk into the supermarket. Most don’t think twice and grab bags full of candy as that has become the norm, and we want children to be happy and satisfied when they come trick-or-treating at our door. It’s time to rethink the types of treats we pass out as well as the amount and kinds of treats you let your own child/children consume.
Halloween is just a week away. Are you willing to trade in old habits for healthier ones? Halloween has long been associated with witches, ghosts, goblins, tricks, and, of course, treats. Tricks, however, are rarely performed, and treats are passed out by the handfuls. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 36 million children aged 5 to 13 went trick-or-treating in 2009. So, you may be wondering how do I fit into this equation? Well, as childhood obesity rates climb nationwide, it is important for adults to demonstrate to children how to eat healthy and be healthy. Granted, Halloween happens once per year, but the candy accumulated from that night will hopefully not be eaten in one sitting, but spread out and consumed over the following weeks or months. This means one “harmless” night can potentially have a long term effect on a child’s health, which gives us all the more reason to be more cautious on the types and amount of treats that are given to children, whether they are your children or those who come to your door this Halloween. Healthy habits should be practiced continually and not conditionally.
Here are some tips to make your Halloween Healthy!
1. Fill kid’s bellies with a healthy meal before they go out trick-or-treating. This will avoid them from filling up on empty calories alone and wanting to overindulge on treats.
2. Pass out 100% fruit snacks, fruit straps or roll-ups. (Remember, whatever you give has to be packaged).
3. Pass out other types of packaged healthy foods such as granola bars, pretzels, cheese and crackers, sugar-free gum, trail mix, hot chocolate packs, etc.
4. Pass out non-food treats such as pencils, bubbles, small toys, coloring books and crayons, etc. Be creative!
5. Avoid passing out or eating treats that contain trans fat. (If a food has trans fat it will be listed as partially hydrogenated oil on the ingredients list.)
6. Choose dark chocolate candies over milk and white chocolate.
7. Choose fun-sized candy over larger sizes.
8. Some candy/treats have more calories than others. Parents should read labels and ration out the loot to one or two treats per sitting as a dessert after a healthy meal.
9. Treats should be followed by flossing and brushing with fluoride toothpaste to avoid cavities!
10. With a few healthy guidelines, Halloween can remain scary, fun, and delicious for children and adults alike!