A Happy and Healthier Halloween – Part 1

candy-2538878_1920Who doesn’t remember the thrill of trick-or-treating on Halloween and coming home with a bag full of candy?

The once-a-year candy marathon of year’s past has morphed into multiple fall festivals at churches and schools, as well as the traditional door-knocking on October 31st.  All with candy treats that trick our youngsters into consuming too much sugar over too-long a period of time.

According to the American Heart Association, children between the ages of two and 18 should consume no more than six teaspoons per day.  The current consumption is 19 teaspoons, more than three times that amount.  Add a sugar-laden holiday like Halloween on top of regular consumption and no surprise that the toddlers are bouncing off the walls!

There are some healthier options for those sweet faces at your door.  Options that treat—not trick—with goodies they will love.  How about trying some of the following ideas?

Halloween Candy 4Healthy Food Treats: Think outside the box when choosing treats for trick-or-treaters or party-goers. The calories in all those bite-size Halloween treats add up quickly. Four “bite size” chocolate bars contain approximately 320 calories, 25 jelly beans have 140 calories, and 20 pieces of candy corn add up to 100 calories.

There are other treats that are lower in fat and sugar but may provide vitamins, minerals and fiber. The possibilities for healthy food treats are endless.

Set a good example for your own children and the neighborhood kids by passing out healthy treats like these instead of giving them candy.  Make sure to avoid foods with peanuts or peanut butter.

A few ideas:

  • cereal bars
  • snack packets of dried fruit, baked pretzels, nut and seeds
  • trail mix
  • packages of low-fat crackers with cheese filling
  • animal, gold fish or graham crackers
  • 100 calorie packs of various products
  • beef or turkey jerky
  • single serve packets of ready-to-eat cereal, raisins or popcorn
  • fig cookies
  • sugar-free gum or hard candy
  • gummy candies made with real juice
  • Jell-O with fruit or snack pack pudding

    Non-food Treats:
    Children also will enjoy non-food treats like the items given in birthday goodie bags.
  • small toys and pocket-sized games
  • glow sticks
  • costume jewelry (plastic rings, necklaces and bracelets)
  • funny Halloween glasses
  • false teeth
  • miniature magnifying glasses
  • tiny decks of cards
  • small stuffed animals
  • pencils
  • pencil toppers and fancy erasers
  • markers
  • stickers, including reflective safety stickers
  • rub-on or stick-on temporary tattoos
  • bookmarks
  • crayons and coloring tablets
  • paint brushes
  • children’s magazines or comic books
  • bottles of bubbles
  • coins (pennies, nickels, dimes)
  • fake money
  • whistles
  • toothbrushes

Treats to Promote Activity: Encourage kids to be more physically active by giving small, inexpensive toys to get them up and moving.

  • a bouncy ball
  • a jump rope
  • sidewalk chalk for drawing a hopscotch or foursquare game
  • a beanbag for hacky sack
  • a plastic or foam flier
    We all know children will bring home candy and other sweet treats. Check back on the blog later this week to learn some tips on how to manage candy consumption!

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