Halloween is here and for most kids, it’s a time of sugar highs and an overindulgence of sweet treats. Though the bite-size candies may seem harmless, these sweet calories do add up. With a little planning, Halloween can be the perfect time to reaffirm healthy habits in your household. Take simple steps that shift the focus to Halloween fun rather than a candy craze. Here are a few tricks:
Load Up Early on Healthy Eats
Make sure your kids don’t head out the door on Halloween on an empty stomach. Serve a healthy meal right before they start trick-or-treating. This will reduce their urge to overindulge on candy. Opt for a balanced dinner consisting of lean protein, leafy veggies and smart carbs like legumes or quinoa. Also, add some healthy snacks to their trick-or-treat bag before they leave home, so they can choose something healthier if snacking on-the-go. You might also arrange a neighborhood potluck with other families before trick-or-treat time, so all kids can enjoy healthy eats together before heading out.
Prior to the holiday, set some rules around your house. Put a limit on how much candy your kids will be allowed to keep and how many pieces they can eat each day. While Halloween candy is around , limit other sugar sources like sodas, sugary drinks, high-calorie cereals and desserts.
Think Outside the Candy Bowl
When selecting what Halloween treats to pass out at your doorstep, there are many alternatives to candy that will delight and excite kids. To help promote a healthy lifestyle, get creative and consider some non-candy alternatives. Options might include handing out favors like spider rings, stickers, bracelets, tiny toys, games, pencils, puzzles, crayons or other party favors.
Fill up your trick-or-treat bowl with delicious lower-calorie options, such as individual pouches of dried fruit, almonds, sunflower seeds, wholegrain crackers, peanut butter, popcorn, hot cocoa or juices boxes with 100% fruit juice.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
After trick-or-treating , let your kids enjoy three treats ; then take the focus off candy and put it out of sight. Store each child’s candy in a special spot. Let them ask for it when time for a treat. Often kids start to lose interest if candy is not visible all the time. When treat time does come, ask your child to add a healthy drink, too. A glass of water or milk with each sweet lessens the chance of overindulging, and adds a little treat of health.
For more ideas on healthy eating, healthy snacks and ways to reduce sugar, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia Kostas Nutrition and visit:http://www.georgiakostas.com.
This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.