Ghoulish costumes, glowing pumpkins, and a plethora of candy can only mean one thing: Halloween has arrived and, with the spooky ambience, kids everywhere are primed and ready to consume their weight’s worth in sweets.
While this is a fun time for children and adults alike, it can be easy to overdo this holiday thanks to the abundance of sugar. Between trick-or-treating, costume parties, and school functions, there is no lack of anything coated in chocolate, which can lead to over-active children and sluggish adults.
So, how can you make this Halloween enjoyable for everyone while still being healthful? Here are five tips to prepare you and your kids for a fun Halloween without the sugar hangovers and grouchy attitudes.
“Go big or go home” shouldn’t be the phrase of choice. When given the option, try to go for the bite-sized candy instead of the full sized version. Not only will you get to have a variety of choices, but kids will have fun picking out their favorites (and even trying something new). You can also have creative snacks around the house, such as my Healthy Halloween Monster Bites. These finger foods are a great alternative to candy while still providing a nutritious (and festive) aspect to Halloween.
For more treat ideas, check out my Fox Health article “5 Spooky Halloween Treats That Are Actually Good For You.”
Balance out the sweetness. With so much sugar available around Halloween, try to balance that sweetness out with other nutritious food items such as nuts, fresh vegetables, or low-sugar yogurt. This is a great way to incorporate protein, vitamins, and minerals into your diet to help offset the candy.
Hand out alternative trick-or-treat items.Instead of handing out candy this year, try switching it up with little kick-knacks like spider rings, decorative pencils, temporary tattoos, bubbles, or stickers. You can also give out toys to encourage physical activity, like Frisbees, jump ropes, or hacky sacks. Chances are that kids will remember (and appreciate) the thoughtful little toy more than sweets. The parents will thank you, too!
Don’t forget dinner. To make the most out of Halloween night, make sure your kids don’t go out on an empty stomach. If possible, try to have dinner ready, or provide them with a nutritious snack (i.e. fruit, cheese, peanut butter, or yogurt) before they go trick-or-treating. If your kids aren’t hungry when they leave, they might be less likely to overindulge on candy when they get home.
Have a game plan. Make sure your kids know their “sweet” boundaries after trick-or-treating is over. For example, you could allow them to choose three to five small pieces of candy each day and slowly enjoy them, instead of consuming everything at once. This will help eliminate the sugar highs/lows, help your kids to listen to their bodies, and help them learn to savor each bite. If after a week there is still candy left over, you can either (discretely) throw it out or give the rest away.
Check out my TV segment “Sweet, Healthy Advice for Halloween Season” with ABC-7 Los Angeles.
What are some ways you plan to enjoy the holiday? Let me know!