Ideas for a Tasty and Healthy Halloween
Guide to a safe and healthy Halloween without losing any of the fun
With soaring obesity rates among children and teens, it’s time to put the Halloween focus back on costumes and tricks, and try to serve healthier Halloween treats.
As a parent you don’t want to put the kibosh on the candy fun part of Halloween treats, but health realities should make you think about ways to celebrate Halloween with creative efforts that allow for a bit of indulgent candy fun and a whole lot of serving up something else. The truth is that parents may be willing to embrace this type of moderation, but kids may balk or other well-meaning friends and family members may thwart your efforts. So how do you balance the food part of Halloween with childhood health and weight realities?
• Let the kids help to set up the pre-trick or treat menu with healthy snack choices. If they go outside to trick or treat with full tummies, they will be less likely to overindulge.
• Turn to toys like yo-yos, jump ropes, crafts, stickers, temporary tattoos, tiny decks of cards, bottles of bubbles, and other items that will thrill them without the calories.
• Agree on Halloween candy eating limits ahead of time.
• Agree to donate the candy to the less fortunate, after the kids choose a couple of pieces of candy for themselves.
• Don’t hide the stash for yourself. It sets a poor example for the kids. Indulge with them and then give it away.
• Set a limit to total number of calories to be consumed during or after the walk, and let the kids read the calorie amounts on the labels with you.
• If your child is overweight, “buy back the candy,” and plan a shopping trip so your child is motivated to look forward to the purchase of a small item.
• Choose healthy but tasty treats like whole grain pretzels, healthier snack bars, raisins, small individual bags of popcorn, nuts (for older kids), soy nuts, or sugar-free gum.
• Have the kids walk as much of the route as possible to help keep blood sugar levels more stable as they indulge.
• Have a healthy, fun snack waiting for them when you get home like healthier muffins decorated with berries and nuts or homemade trail mix and milk.
• If you set up reasonable rules and guidelines well before the holiday, and review the rules with your kids the week before Halloween, you are more likely to limit arguments and rebellion and have success with a healthier Halloween effort.
If this is the first time you are setting a focus on healthy Halloween treats and ideas, then praise and reward your kids for their willingness to participate with new rules.