Nutritional Tricks For Halloween Treats
Halloween is one of the most anticipated nights of the year for many children. But how can parents let their ghosts and goblins have fun without overloading on the goodies they have collected?
“Halloween is a great time of year to practice healthy habits,’’ said Sandi Hinz, dietitian, Genesis Center for Weight Management. “Encouraging good habits now can help children eat better throughout the year. And, getting kids to think about what they eat, how much they eat and when they eat now can prevent obesity later.’’
Here are a few tricks for controlling Halloween treats in your house:
• Encourage moderation. Balance is what makes good health. Parents should encourage moderation. Don’t over-restrict candy, but treat it with the attitude that it is for special times and that a little will fit into a child’s good health and nutrition.
• Provide guidelines for Halloween candy. When the candy is brought home, sort through the stash to take out anything that looks suspicious. Have children discard or give away what they don’t like.
• Set a policy for eating trick-or-treat candy. Experts recommend that treats be given out sparingly, perhaps one for dessert each night for a week, alongside a healthy snack, such as a piece of fruit. Hinz also suggests that parents give their children an expiration date before candy is discarded.
“One rule of thumb about keeping holiday candy would be that it stays until the next holiday, such as Thanksgiving,’’ said Hinz. “That’s a good
four-week period that gives kids time to enjoy their candy and spread it out evenly throughout that time. Leftovers can then either be discarded or frozen for another time.’’
Hinz also suggests preparing a nutritious meal before kids go out to trick-or-treat. Try cooking their favorites for dinner so they’re more likely to feel full and have less room for candy. Have nutritious snacks available. The fall season is a great time to find produce that is delicious and good for you.
These days, many homes are offering non-candy treats like pencils, bracelets, stickers or small toys. For healthier food handouts, try sugarless gum, pre-packaged dried fruits or individual bags of pretzels.
“Focus on the excitement of the day and make candy less of a focus,’’ Hinz said. “Take advantage of the festivities that don’t involve food.’’