Halloween without the health scare

October 26, 2015 | by Toni Havala, MS, RD, LDN
Believe it or not, Halloween is a great time to practice balance.

When your kids stagger home on Halloween night lugging sacks full of candy, teach them how to enjoy special treats in moderation.

These tactics will help you manage the candy craziness:

Trick #1: Fill up on the good stuff! Feed everyone a healthy meal before the candy bowl comes out and the kids leave to trick-or-treat. Everyone will be less tempted to eat lot of candy on a full stomach.

Trick #2: Prioritize! Have your children sort their candy from most to least favorite. Donate the least-favorite candy or take it to a local dentist that participates in a buy-back program where children are reimbursed based on the pounds of candy they bring in.

Trick #3: Don’t add to the sugar total. While you have candy in the house, cut back on other sources of sugar like juice, chocolate milk, chocolate-flavored nut butters, doughnuts, desserts or pastries.

Trick #4: Give out healthier choices, such as:
- Snack bags of popcorn
- Raisins
- Granola bars (with under 9 grams of sugar per serving)
- Sugar-free gum
- Snack sized bags of bear graham crackers or animal crackers
- Snack sized bags of pretzels or fish crackers

Trick #5: Skip the edible treats altogether and consider giving out:
- Glow-in-the-dark necklaces or bracelets
- Spooky rings, fake teeth or fingernails
- Stickers
- Noise makers
- Creepy plastic bugs, fingers or eyeballs

Trick #6: If you give out candy, control the amount. Hand out fun-size candy and allow the trick-or-treaters to pick one or two pieces.

Trick #7: Pace yourselves! After the fun of trick-or-treating is over, allow the kids to have their choice of several different kinds of candy (Be sure to check all of your child’s candy before letting them dive into the treat bag). Then put the candy out of sight so it isn’t a constant reminder to eat more. Allow them to choose 1-2 pieces each day. This teaches them moderation. You could also freeze it to use for celebrations at a later date, or use it to create a holiday gingerbread house.

Work off that Halloween candy in a new fitness class.

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