4 Healthy Tricks for Enjoying the Halloween Treats

Save all fear for the haunted house, it is possible to have a Halloween that will meet the approval of your children and also your their doctor.

Sixteen percent of children’s total calories comes from added sugar, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.  Added sugar is sugar that is added to processed or prepared foods as an ingredient or sugar that is added to foods at the table.  To break it down, sixteen percent of calories is equal to 13 to 24 teaspoons of added sugar daily.  The American Heart Association recommends that children consume no more than six teaspoons per day.  These added sugars are a problem because they have no nutrients and add additional calories that can contribute to obesity and health problems.

Photo by Pete Wright on Unsplash

 

Then here comes Halloween with sugar-added treats abound!  What can you do?

Maybe you weren’t planning to dress up for Halloween, but you can pretend for a little bit with these tips for a healthier Halloween:

Be a dentist and buy treats for a winning smile. 

Don’t buy the candy early. If your family is likely to cave and snack on the candy pre-Halloween, make an effort to hold out on buying it.  Even better…

Consider giving out nonfood treats this year!  Try browsing your local dollar store for glow in the dark rings or necklaces, glow sticks, stickers, slime, temporary tattoos, pencils, bouncy balls, or bubbles.  You don’t have to worry about disappointing the little ghosts who show up at your door.  A study from the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found when trick-or-treaters were offered a choice between comparably sized toys and candies, they were just as likely to choose the toys as the candy.  The study also found that the majority of children were willing, and some would even prefer, to make changes to the types of treats given out.

If you decide to give out treats, choose healthier options. Treats such as raisin boxes, squeezable fruit pouches, mini-bags of cereal, trail mix, or mini bags of nuts provide needed nutrients, and you could feel good about adding any leftover to lunchboxes.  For example, mini-bags of pistachios have protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals and are fun to open.  Sugar-free gum is another good choice, as it increases saliva production that can help wash away cavity-causing bacteria.  Other options are mini bags of goldfish or animal crackers, pretzels, fruit snacks, or mini rice krispie treats.

Be a coach and provide a nutritious power meal for your sports star before the big event.  No need to be a gourmet chef!

Enjoy a nutritious meal with your kids before heading out for the evening so your children aren’t starving amidst an array of sweets.  Try a quick turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with a side of carrots and or spaghetti with lean meat vegetable sauce..

Be a business person and set a long term candy plan.

Agree ahead of time on a set number of candy your child can eat.  Let them pick out that set number to eat that night, and then decide how many treats your child can have and when.  Keep the treats out of sight to prevent mindless munching and give away any that aren’t favorites.

Be a Wall Street trader and trade for a good deal. 

One of my favorite options for dealing with Halloween candy is trading the candy for something such as a toy, game, or outing, such as a night bowling, a trip to the skating rink, or a night out to eat that your child wants more.  You could also let them keep a few favorites and then buy the rest from them; I’ve heard amounts from $1 per pound or $0.25 per piece.  Your child will have fun bargaining with you on the going rate!  Another great option is having a “Candy Fairy” come one night and exchange the candy for a toy or game.  Then, you could donate the candy to the food bank or ship it far from you by sending it to the troops overseas.  You could also freeze it, and use it to make holiday gift goodies.

A survey done by the American Dental Association found most children’s favorite part of Halloween was going door to door, followed by getting to dress up—not the candy they had at the end of the evening.  Start Halloween traditions that don’t center on the candy.  This teaches kids how to enjoy treats to prevent the cavity monster and stay healthy to grow strong.  Then, they will be all ready for the body builder costume next year.

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