Halloween is a time for spooky, entertaining costumes, lanterns, and neighborhood trick-or-treating. Kids adore this time of year because of the thrill of dressing up, the eerie décor, and the abundance of treats.
So how do you let the kids have fun on this holiday making it just as sweet, but maybe cutting back on the sugar buzz? Read on for some tasty, but healthy, advice from Nadine Hilal, Clinical Dietician and Diabetes Educator at HealthPlus Diabetes and Endocrinology Center.
Fill up those tummies with good stuff first
We all know that the kids want to rush out and get into the fun of knocking on doors and grabbing handfuls of sweets. But before they go out trick-or-treating make sure that they have a full meal beforehand – or at least a filling snack – to reduce the temptation to overindulge. Fill them up on their favorite meal before you send them on their way. Also, make a rule that no one eats their candy until parents have checked it at home.
Moderation in a time of excess may sound contradictory, but if you give your child a smaller collection container and not a large bag, they will be limited by how much they can collect. Encourage them to only take one piece of candy from each home and that way they will be able to visit more houses.
Also, when you inspect your kid’s bounty that they bring home, keep track of how much candy they amassed and store it somewhere other than in their bedrooms. Dole it out; let them have one or two treats a day instead of leaving the candy out in big bags or bowls for them to eat at will.
Healthy can also be fun
When buying treats for the neighborhood kids, consider including items other than candy in the mix, making eating healthy foods fun. Try adding sealed packages of raisins and dried fruits, snack-sized packages of pretzels, popcorn, crackers and even trail mix. Also consider 100 percent real fruit strips, squeezable yogurt tubes, or single pieces of peelable fruit, such as mandarins.
Make it inclusive for those with food allergies
Put up a poster in one of your windows to show kids with food allergies that you have non-food treats for them and that you are making Halloween inclusive and safe for all. Offer them fun, inexpensive little items such as erasers, crayons, pencils, coloring books, glow sticks or small glow-in-the-dark toys, bouncy balls, mini plush toys and wind-up toys, stickers or stamps, temporary tattoos, bubble makers, spider rings or vampire teeth, slime, putty or squishy toys and friendship bracelets. These are also great treats to hand out generally among the candy. Just make sure they are not small enough to be choking hazards for smaller children, so be selective as to who receives them.
Look before you eat
Check expiration dates on the goodies the kids bring home. Start by inspecting that each piece of candy is properly sealed. Throw away any that have torn wrappers or holes in the packaging and inspect all edibles before allowing children to eat them. Don’t let them eat anything with questionable or unknown ingredients, especially if they have food allergies such as peanut, soy, milk or tree nuts allergy. Also, keep in mind that gum and hard candy can pose a choking risk for young children, so be sure to remove these items from the night’s rewards.
Now that everyone is ready for fun, enjoy your trick-or-treating – safely!