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Mission: Nutrition

Providing the most up-to-date information on health and nutrition is my mission!

A Happy and Healthy Halloween

Posted by Lisa Peterson -

Can you believe it is already the end of October? Where has this year gone? With the Halloween holiday only a day away it’s fun to see children excited about dressing up as their favorite character. Dressing up as a character from the Disney film “Frozen” tops this year’s children's costume and dressing up as a witch tops the list for adult costumes. The most internet searched costume in 2014 in Illinois is cat-woman. Of course the holiday with all of its witches and warlocks revolves around a variety of sugary sweets, CANDY!

Candy should be consumed in moderation with healthier alternatives readily available. Here are a few helpful tricks to prevent that sugary Halloween stomachache.

Prior to trick or treating ensure a nutrient rich meal is consumed. By having a family dinner prior to trick or treating, children will be less likely to munch while out and keeps their energy up for a festive night out!

The treats children receive on Halloween does not have to be candy. This can sometimes feel like getting an itchy sweater for Christmas, but by switching out the candy for other treats children receive a variety of fun items in their trick or treat bag! Try buying an assortment of non-edible treats to hand out such as costume jewelry, glow sticks, mini decks of cards, temporary tattoos, bubbles, stickers, whistles, bouncy balls, jump ropes or other fun finds.

Another option is giving away granola bars, snack pack pudding, fruit snacks, hot chocolate mix packets, or apple cider mixed packets. Some companies even have Halloween themed fruit snack options. When I was younger, there was one house we went to every year to get a small “mystery” bag, adding some extra fun to trick or treating. An example of what we found one year was a free movie pass and a microwave bag of popcorn!

When I was an avid trick or treater, my sister and I would come home and unload all of our candy on the kitchen table to sort out our treasures.

A great idea to do when children are sorting their candy is put safety first. If the candy is not properly labeled or looks questionable, throw it out! Follow the age old rule of when in doubt, throw it out!

Take an inventory of the candy and store candy in a higher cupboard-out of sight, out of mind! Halloween is a wonderful opportunity to talk to your kids about eating in moderation and limiting sweets. Allow children to have one or two treats per day or have them do a piece of candy in combination with a healthy option, such as an apple. Another fun option is have your children “sell” their candy to you for a penny, nickel, dime, or a quarter to help them save for a toy they really want. This will help limit the amount of candy they will consume; as well as, learning about saving money.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween, keeping a few of these tips in mind when picking out candy and handling that candy stash on November 1st!



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