Halloween is just around the corner. Are you ready? As a parent, it’s hard not to think of candy this time of year, and your kids are probably eager to go trick or treating.
But you’re probably not eager for them—and you—to be tempted with all that extra sugar. Not to worry. There ARE ways to celebrate the holiday without overdoing the sweets. Try these tips for Halloween with a healthy twist:
- Don’t make Halloween all about the candy. Take your children with you to pick out a pumpkin, and come up with ideas for painting it. Have fun decorating your home with pumpkins, orange lights or streamers, and creepy spider webs.
- Plan ahead for Halloween night. Just as you try not to go food shopping when you’re hungry, make sure your kids eat a healthy dinner before they go trick or treating. This will hopefully help to prevent them from eating all their candy on the way home!
- What to do when your kids come back with way more candy than they could, or should, enjoy? Talk to them ahead of time and decide how many pieces they can have each day. It’s better for their teeth to eat one or two small pieces at once before tooth brushing time, than to snack on many pieces all day long. After a few days, hopefully memories of Halloween can be stored away, along with the extra candy, which can also be donated.
- There’s no law that says candy is the only treat on Halloween! Hand out granola bars, animal crackers, or snack-sized bags of pretzels. These treats, especially when packaged for Halloween, will be sure to make it in to the kids’ lunch bags the next day. I like to hand out stickers, colorful pencils, and spooky rings and bracelets. Children love them!
If you do decide to give out candy, buy only the amounts you think you’ll be giving out, or buy the kinds you and your family don’t like as much, so you’re not tempted by too many leftovers. If you do indulge (we’re human after all), have a few pieces of your favorite and don’t leave candy within reach. Try to stick to the miniature-sized candy, and choose the dark chocolate variety. Small amounts of dark chocolate actually have health benefits!
Remember, moderation is the key to enjoying Halloween treats. Have a happy and healthy Halloween!
Written by Terri Mendoza, Buncombe WIC Nutritionist.