As a parent, I was always astounded at the fervor my kids had when it came to Trick or Treating. No holds barred, it was a race to see how much candy they could amass by the end of Halloween. As a parent, I offered advice about slowing down their consumption and savoring their sugary treats. They would survey the “goods,” trade treats they didn’t like with their siblings, and then proceed to tear open and stuff as many sugary treats as they could into their drooling little mouths. We witness the annual sugar coma, of sorts. Stomachaches ensued, kids looked a little sick by the end of the night, but each coveted their stash like it was gold, (which of course would last many weeks).
As a dietitian, I’m not against the occasional sweet treat (more than just occasionally, truth be told, like fruit with my dark chocolate!) I’m all about not going that “forbidden food” route which actually sets up kids to overindulge and possibly sneak food. So how can we safely and healthfully navigate Halloween later this month?
From a safety angle:
- Don’t eat any candy that is homemade
- Throw away candy with cracks, holes or rips in the wrappers
- Remove any potential choking hazards if you have small children
To be more healthful:
- Give out mini-bags of pre-packaged light microwave popcorn, all natural fruit strips or bars, or sugarless gum
- Give out mini-bags of pre-packaged peanuts, trail mix, pretzels, healthy crackers, small boxes of raisins or granola bars
- Consider dividing up the treats your children receive into mini-snack bags – kids can then choose one bag daily that would have just a few treats in it.
- If you do offer candy, go bite-size.
- Consider handing out non-food items such as pencils, note pads, stickers, key chains, sidewalk chalk, bouncy balls. (Research shows that kids would choose these novelties 50% of the time).
- Have a nourishing meal ready before the Trick or Treating begins so that tummies get the nourishment they need before the snacks.
Families – What are your Halloween customs? I’d love to hear your tips on how you navigate special Halloween evenings – from carving pumpkins, offering treats, party ideas, or even ideas on neat costumes you’ve assembled. So relax and try some of my tips - let's have fun and create some amazing memories this Halloween!