Halloween for many families is a fun-filled evening; however, it often leads to sweet-tooth heaven for many kids and adults for weeks following. For many parents, it is tricky to be excited for “Trick-or-Treat” when you know the challenges with too many sweets around the house. Here are some tips to keep your Halloween a happy, healthy, and haunted evening:
Focus the celebration on these aspects and less on the candy.
Halloween is fun because of the decorations, costumes, social gatherings, and music. Involve the kids when decorating and planning the evening. Gather with another family to enjoy dinner.
Plan a healthy and haunted meal before heading out to Trick-or-Treat.
Make a ghost-shaped peanut butter or soy butter sandwich or cheese quesadilla using a cookie cutter. Whole wheat bread or whole wheat tortillas pack in more fiber than the white variety. Fill up a pumpkin with some hummus for dipping carrots and celery or yogurt for dipping some fruit. Eating a balanced meal before heading outside will help everyone be more mindful when eating treats.
Consider giving some alternatives to candy.
Consider alternatives such as sugar free gum, mini granola bars, bags of pretzels, and raisins are easy. For non-food treats, consider stickers, temporary tattoos, glow sticks, play-doh, or bubbles. Maybe the teenagers and tweens won’t be as excited to come to your door, but the younger visitors (and parents) will enjoy the change of pace.
Set some limits for after Trick-or-Treat night.
Enjoying 1 to 3 pieces of candy per day is reasonable. Put the candy in a non-visible and secure place. Include skim or low-fat milk or water for the beverage of choice when eating the candy. Send the message to enjoy it slowly after a snack or meal.
Don’t forget about the classroom!
Despite kids being taught the value of healthy food choices and good nutrition, parties at school often offer only sugary and high-fat goodies. This sends a mixed message to kids. To send the right message, teachers and parents should offer healthy snack alternatives along with some treats during these Halloween parties.
Kari DuBro, MS, RD, LD, CWWS is the Employee Wellness Program Manager at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Kari believes that an important part of her role is creating a healthier environment at Nationwide Children’s by promoting healthy norms, helping employees find ways to be more physically active, and planning educational wellness programs.
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