Tips for a Healthy Halloween
Laura Reynebeau, UWGB Dietetic Intern
Tips for a Healthy Halloween
Halloween is an exciting time for both children and adults, as it gives us a chance to dress up and eat some fun holiday treats. Because Halloween is the kick-off of the holiday season, it is important to practice mindfulness when it comes to indulging in these types of food items. Here are some tips and tricks to have a healthier Halloween this year.
- Wait to buy Halloween candy. To avoid temptation, purchase your Halloween candy on the day of. But less than what you think you will need to avoid leftovers. If you do not want any temptation at all, be sure to buy candy that you do not like.
- Fill up on healthy options first. Providing a healthy meal or snack before heading out to go trick-or-treating is important. This can help to limit the snacking or overindulging at home when the festivities come to a close.
- Be sure to pick the right size bag. Find a bag or container that is appropriate for your child. Avoid the pillowcase method and choose a smaller option. Additionally, be sure to stop when the container is full.
- Provide alternatives. Consider healthier options, like fresh fruits, pumpkin seeds, or non-food items. This is especially important for families with food allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages people to consider handing out non-food items to trick-or-treaters and placing teal pumpkins to symbolize this on the outside of their homes. Check out this article to get some great ideas on healthy options and non-food items.
- Stay active. Be sure to walk around the neighborhood rather than driving. Remember, trick-or-treating can be a positive experience for you and your children, especially when you incorporate physical activity with the whole family.
- Have a plan. Discuss beforehand and set boundaries with your children on the amount of candy that they are allowed to eat over the next few weeks. This is a great time to talk with your children about enjoying these special treats in moderation. Always choose fun size candy bars, and when possible choose the healthier dark chocolate options.
- Keep perspective. Don’t let Halloween indulgences be the start of letting your health goals slide over the holidays. Enjoy the day and follow some of the recommendations listed here to help minimize the impact of the sweet treats of Halloween. Keep in mind that it is our overall diet and what we eat every day that has the most impact on our health.
- Get rid of extra treats to reduce temptations. Here are some ideas:
- When you get home from trick-or-treating, have children make a pile of their favorites to enjoy in moderation throughout the next few weeks.
- Offer a healthy snack, such as fresh veggies or a piece of string cheese, along with the candy when your child requests to have a piece.
- Mix extra candy with whole grain cereal, dried fruit, seeds and nuts to make a homemade trail mix.
- Donate any extra candy that you don’t want sitting around the house. Give to a local shelter, or send a care package to someone serving overseas. Visit this link for a list of charitable organizations who accept donations of unopened candy.