monster's BLOG

October 20th, 2010 . by Catherine Frederico, MS RD LDN

Candy craziness.

Traditionally my family was never into the ghosts and goblins stuff, but I have to say I love Halloween. Why? Because of all the candy!!  Candy candy candy!  I just love a good piece of candy, and what better way to celebrate the start of fall than with costumes and candy?

I firmly believe that treating yourself every now and then to a delectable treat is necessary for a balanced self, but at Halloween we often go a bit beyond just treating ourselves. In the spirit of keeping Halloween candy consumption in control, here are some healthy Halloween hints for you and your family to try out this year.halloweengame

  • Evaluate your child.
    • Dr. Mary L. Gavin, MD recommends you evaluate your child’s eating habits before letter him or her go trick-or-treating. If your child is not a candy lover, odds are setting strict limits on your child isn’t necessary. However if your child struggles with sugar or is already overweight, it’s best to set some limits up front.
    • Keep the collected candy in the family pantry not the child’s room so he or she isn’t tempted to munch between meals.
    • Be fair to your child by not handing out candy to neighborhood kids. Consider giving trick-or-treaters non-food items like cool stickers, bright pencils, and small toys.
    • Sort through the candy with your child to pick out favorites. Those that aren’t picked can be thrown away or used to make a fun Halloween craft like a spooky Halloween candy house.
    • Other nutrition experts suggest giving your child free range to eat any candy they wish for about two days and then disposing of the rest.
  • Avoid traditional candy craziness.
    • Before venturing out into candy land, discuss with your child about dietary balance, portion size, and calories.  A good way to introduce calories to your child is through playing the Halloween Candy Game together.
    • Just like adults, even non-candy loving kids will eat what’s available when they are hungry. Be sure to feed your child a good, healthy meal before going out. This keeps the desire to overeat candy to a minimum.
    • Plan a walking route for your trick-or-treat adventure. Remember health is about balance, and being physically active on Halloween is a great way to balance out those extra calories.
    • Bring healthy snacks and water with you in case your family gets the munchies while collecting all that candy.
    • Once all the candy is collected, have your child select several pieces for eating that night. Remember it’s important to allow treats within reason.
    • If there is a stockpile of candy left over after Halloween, discuss with your child when the rest can be eaten and how much at one time. For example, two pieces could be selected after dinner each evening or as a snack after doing something physical.
  • Be a good role model.
    • Don’t fall into the trap of eating too much candy yourself. If you choose to hand out candy make sure to avoid overindulging.
    • Consider serving healthier treats at Halloween this year. Remember things must be prepackaged for safety. Clemson University nutritionists have created an entire list of healthy Halloween treats. Some of my favorites are:
      • Animal crackers
      • Graham crackers
      • Cracker Jacks
      • 100 Calorie Packs
      • 100% juice boxes
      • Gummies made with real fruit
      • Chocolate covered raisins
      • Low-fat popcorn packs
    • Not brave enough to hand out healthy treats to trick-or-treaters? Consider setting a healthy tone at Halloween parties. You can find some really creative ideas online like this super cute haunted forest platter made with veggies.

Happy candy hunting out there!

One Response to “Healthy Halloween Hints”

  1. Comment # 1 by: Lindsey
    October 30th, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Setting limits is a great idea. Personally, my favorite idea is to pick out the best pieces of candy and throw away the rest. It teaches your child it is ok to eat treats but only eat the treats you REALLY want.

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