Have a Healthier Halloween

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All Hallows’ Eve is supposed to be fun—and scary too. But not because of all the artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives found in typical Halloween treats.

And all that sugar! Consuming too much of the sweet stuff can make a trick-or-treater more susceptible to colds and the flu due to a compromised immune system. Not to mention, high sugar consumption has been linked to other health concerns such as obesity and diabetes.

What’s a self-respecting trick-or-treater to do in the face of such temptation? Since the goal of most kids is to get the maximum amount of candy they can, help them to enjoy the holiday without it being all about the sugary loot. Here’s how:

  • Serve a healthy and filling meal before trick-or-treating begins. Kids will be less likely to binge on candy with a full stomach. Serve a warm, comforting food such as chili, soup, or stew before heading out for the evening.
  • To cut down on excess amounts of candy, limit the number of houses your child visits. Consider reducing the size of the bag your child can use for trick-or-treating. Once it’s full, put it out of reach at home.
  • Set a limit to how many treats the kids can enjoy, and always make sure they eat only a small amount along with something healthy—like an apple. Have them eat the fruit first, so they’ll be less hungry for the treat.
  • If you’re hosting a Halloween party, don’t put out bowls of candy—that’s too tempting. Instead fill decorative trays with these healthier options: individually wrapped packages of granola bars, dried fruit, fruit leather, fruit ropes, string cheese, whole-grain pretzels, baked chips, and nuts. Roasted pumpkin seeds offer something crunchy to nibble on, and popcorn balls made with nut butter and sweetened with honey, maple syrup, or raisins are a tasty—and still sweet—offering. For something to drink, serve individual-sized boxes of fruit juice with no added sugar.
  • When trick-or-treaters come knocking, offer them non-food items. Fun suggestions include sparkly pencils and erasers, Halloween-themed bookmarks, sugar-free gum sweetened with stevia, inexpensive costume jewelry, stickers, funny glasses, pages from coloring books, mini magnifying glasses, toothbrushes, jump ropes, and balls.
Sources: 

“Healthy Halloween Treats,” www.Clemson.edu, 2014

Contributor: 

Eva Milotte