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The Tricks to Treating: Healthy Halloween Tips for You and Your Family

October 20, 2014

Chocolate bars, jelly beans, and taffy, oh my! Since January we’ve made strides to keep a healthy diet during the year’s festivities. We limited our chocolates on Valentine’s Day, we kept Easter dinner portions a reasonable size, and we held to a one hotdog maximum on the Fourth of July. But next thing we know its October and there are unavoidable candy bowls tempting us everywhere we look.

And while it’s okay to occasionally indulge in a bite-sized treat, the problem lies when one turns to two and two turns to…well, you get the idea. Eventually, we find ourselves with unintentional weight gain and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet! Meanwhile, the threat of an increase in hyperactivity and cavities in our children is giving us a bigger headache than our neighbor’s talking pumpkin.

Like in all things health and nutrition, careful planning is the key. Nutrition Lately has pulled together some simple tricks to help you and your family successfully ‘treat’ this Halloween.

TRICK: PREPARE THE TROOPS

Eating a healthy meal pre-‘trick-or-treating’ is your first defense against overindulging later. We often turn to candy first because our blood sugar is low and as a result we feel hungry. Before leaving home, serving a high-protein, high-fiber meal for you and family should keep temptations at bay for the next 2-3 hours.

A suggestion would be grilled chicken breast, wholegrain rice, broccoli florets, a glass of skim milk, and apple slices for dessert. Drinking plenty of water is also important for keeping cravings at bay. Revert back to your MyPlate guide for other suggestions and tips.

TRICK: BE THE NEIGHBORHOOD HERO

There are several alternatives to passing out candy on Halloween. Here are some suggestions that will make your neighbors both admire you and think twice about what they hand out next year:

  • Mini Toothbrushes
  • Halloween stickers
  • Rubber Balls
  • Party Favors
  • Colored Pencils
  • Raisins Packets
  • Key Chains

TRICK: SET A POST-TREATING PLAN 

When kids get home from trick-or-treating, allow them to use their newly acquired candy as a sort of currency.  First, have kids pile through and choose favorites and non-favorites.  Then, make a wager with them that for every piece of candy they fork over they get a penny or nickel. Then kids can use their newly acquired money to buy something (non-food focused) at the store.  With the candy that is left, be sure to immediately stash out of sight. Allow kids to choose one piece a day and preferably after a meal.

TRICK: MAKE THE BEST CHOICES

Not all candy is created equal. When you do indulge, try to pick out the lowest calorie and sugar options available. Check out our list for some suggestions:

CHOCOLATE

  • 3 Musketeers Miniatures- 24 calories– WINNER!
  • Milky Way Mini- 28 calories
  • Snicker Mini- 42.5 calories
  • Two Twix Bars- 160 calories
  • Peanut Butter Pumpkin- 180 calories
  • Almond Joy/Mounds- 200 calories

OTHER TIPS

  • Include dark chocolate when possible for an antioxidant boost
  • Choose hard candies, which you can’t eat as quickly
  • Opt for the sugar-free candies, if provided

For more nutrition tips, suggestions and family friendly recipes, visit Kids Eat Right.


Elise Truman, MS, RD

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