Blue Sky MD Program Director and Registered Dietician Kristen Hunter has some great tips for staying healthy through Halloween:
Halloween is a fun day for children. They get to wear costumes, go through haunted houses, and go trick-or-treating for candy. By the end of the night, children either have a bucket or pillowcase full of candy that they are itching to tear into or have already begun eating on the way home.
Most parents realize that overloading on candy is not the best option for their children, but often feel trapped by the notion that Halloween revolves around delicious, sweet confections. Of course, adults are not immune to Halloween snacking either. These tips will help you prepare you and your child for a ghoulishly fun Halloween evening and week after, without the ghastly sugar highs and upset stomachs!
Choose Healthier Treats
If you choose to offer snacks to trick-or-treaters, choose options that provide at least a little nutritional value. Compared to most other candies, dark chocolates, such as Hershey’s® Dark Chocolate Kisses® or Special Dark Miniatures, have a bit less sugar, and provide antioxidants.
Mini packages of popcorn, baked chips, pretzels, or Fig Newtons provide some nutritional value from the corn, potato, grains, or figs, rather than just being 100% sugar and processed saturated fats.
Opt for Smaller Pieces
If you give candy, give the mini-sized pieces rather than the fun-sized ones, which usually are at least twice the size and calories. This allows children to choose multiple candies for the same number of calories.
Try to avoid giving any snacks that are pure sugar. Look at the nutrient label and if the only calories come from carbohydrates and sugar (no fat or protein), then it is a safe bet that it is all sugar. Another alternative to all of these snacks are mini packs of gum, which tend to have fewer calories and are enjoyable for almost any kid! For even less sugar and fewer calories, consider giving out sugar-free gum.
Give a Toy Instead
If you do not want to give out candy or gum, researchers have found that children 3 to 14 years of age were just as likely to choose a small toy instead of candy. Think about passing out bouncy balls or temporary Halloween tattoos instead of candy. This will also remove any potential for temptation for those of us that like to dip into our kids’ candy stash (shhh!). Visit your local party favor or discount store for even more toy or handout ideas.
Out of sight, out of mind
Get rid of leftover candy and chips that you did not hand out as soon as possible. Take the extras into work, donate them to a shelter, or throw them out. This way you and your children do not have devilishly unhealthy snack options staring you in the face. The sooner you return to normal habits, the sooner you can prepare for the next major holiday, Thanksgiving!
Have a safe and happy Halloween!