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5 Tips for a Healthier Halloween

Posted by on Oct. 27, 2016 at 1:54 AM
  • 3 Replies

BY: KATHERINE BROOKING, MS, RD

Are you ready for Halloween? It’s just around the corner, so chances are you’re stocking up on candy and other goodies for your neighborhood’s trick-or-treaters. Halloween is one of the most popular holidays. More than 70% of U.S. households plan to hand out candy this year and more than one-third of us will attend a Halloween party. And, hold onto your wallets—Americans will spend some $ 8.4 billion on Halloween-related purchases, including $ 2.5 billion on candy alone…ouch!

While that much candy might seem scarier than a haunted house, you can make Halloween a little less sugary – while still keeping it fun!

Here are five ways to give kids a spook-tacular, and healthier, Halloween:

Fruit-Based Goodies. If you’re hosting a Halloween bash, make sure that “nature’s candy” – fruit – takes center stage. Kids love dipping apples in caramel sauce. And for a healthier party snack, serve a mix of dried fruit (dried cranberries, diced dried plum and pineapple bits) with nutrient rich sunflower seeds, nuts. For handout treats, fruit leathers and squeezable pouches are perfect in place of traditional candy. Look for ones made with real fruit and no added sugars.

Tricks Instead of Treats! Kids have just as much fun with toys and non-edible novelties as they do with candy, according to research from Yale University. In the study, children were offered a choice between lollipops, fruit-flavored chewy candies, and other sweets and large glow-in-the-dark insects, Halloween themed stickers and pencils. Researchers found that the children were just as likely to choose the toys as they were candy. For parties and trick-or-treaters, I make up individual bags that include a mix of better-for-you candies (like the ones listed below) and bouncy balls, spooky spiders, Halloween stickers, pencils, and glow sticks.

Down-Sized Chocolates. A healthier Halloween doesn’t have to mean no chocolate. For parties and hand-out treats, always serve “fun size” or smaller-portion individually wrapped chocolates. And if possible, consider skipping the traditional candy selection and, instead, opt for “better-for-you” versions, made with natural ingredients and less sugar: For instance, instead of traditional peppermint patties, offer Heavenly Organics Mint Chocolate Honey Patties. They’re just 50 calories per patty and made from 100% dark chocolate, which is naturally lower in sugar, and are filled with 100% organic, raw honey.

Hard or Chewy Candies. Treats that take kids a long time to eat can help slow down consumption. Some of my favorite s-l-o-w treats include lollipops, taffy, gum, and licorice.

  • Starburst Fruit Chews (one piece): 20 calories, 3 g sugar
  • Lifesavers (2 lifesavers):30 calories, 6 g sugar
  • Tootsie Roll Pops (one pop): 60 calories, 10 g sugar
  • Wrigley’s Doublemint Gum (one piece): 10 calories, 2 g sugar

Savor the Loot! Let’s face it: we’ll never live in a candy-free world (nor would we want to!). Even if you hand out healthier treats, not everyone will – there’s a good chance that your child may come home with pounds of sugary loot. So, Halloween is a great opportunity to talk to kids about portion size and moderation. Allow kids 2-3 pieces of candy each day from their Halloween booty so they can enjoy the season without having a sugar overload.


by on Oct. 27, 2016 at 1:54 AM
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Replies (1-3):
wakymom
by Ruby Member on Oct. 27, 2016 at 11:31 AM
I limit my kids to 2 pieces a day, but that's as far as I go on healthy for Halloween.
mom2jessnky
by Platinum Member on Oct. 28, 2016 at 10:53 AM
1 mom liked this

Same here.  It's Halloween, they're supposed to eat junk and have fun.

What's next? How to keep your Thanksgiving meal under 600 calories? Hard Pass, Thanksgiving is the day where you don't stop eating when you're full, you stop when you hate yourself, and then you have pie.

Quoting wakymom: I limit my kids to 2 pieces a day, but that's as far as I go on healthy for Halloween.


artemisa3001
by Bronze Member on Oct. 28, 2016 at 12:03 PM
I'd take a pass. Halloween is to indulge in sweets.

Healthy Halloween and no cookies for Santa, I find that. ridiculous.

Usually I end up with hrowing away a lot of Halloween candy, Dd doesn't eat all of that.
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