Can You Give Health Treats For Halloween?

September 18, 2011

Halloween is a great time for kids. They have lots of fun with parties and with trick-or-treating. The problem for moms and dads is deciding what to do with those big trick-or-treat bags full of candy and sweet treats. Many kids have difficulty with their weight and loading up on all that sugar isn’t a good idea.

Here are my tips to help control your children’s consumption of treats:

  • Serve your kids a healthy snack such as a peanut butter sandwich and some fruit before trick-or-treating. If they aren’t hungry, your kids will be less likely to gorge themselves on candy when they get home.
  • Let your children enjoy some of their Halloween candy in moderation when they have finished trick-or-treating — after you have inspected the treats for safety. Keep a close eye on the kids who tend to binge so they don’t eat too much candy.
  • Give your kids a day or two to enjoy the Halloween candy, then throw the rest away. Many people think this is wasteful. However, if your child has difficulty controlling his candy consumption, this may be what you need to do.
  • If you don’t want to throw the candy away, give it away. Take the rest of the candy to work or group meetings. Hopefully, the adults will have good control over their candy consumption.
  • Put all of the extra treats into a high cabinet in your kitchen or pantry. Out of sight is out of mind, and you can control how many treats your kids get to eat over the next few days.
  • Divide up the leftover candy to be eaten a little bit at a time. You will need lunch-sized paper bags, tape, stapler, and maybe some markers or pens.
    • Place two or three small treats, or one larger piece, into each plain paper bag. Tape or staple the paper bags closed and keep them in a large box or bag. Let your kids pick out one bag each day.
    • Alternately, each bag can be marked with a day or date for the next week or two. Your child gets the treat bag that is marked for each day.
  • Don’t buy Halloween candy early. You will tempt yourself and your kids to eat too much before the trick-or-treating even starts.
  • Promote a healthy Halloween by handing out alternatives to candy.
    • pencils
    • stickers
    • party favors
    • trading cards
  • Give out individually packaged non-sugary treats.
    • nuts
    • raisins
    • sunflower seeds
    • pumpkin seeds
    • cashews
    • chips
    • microwave popcorn
    • whole grain crackers
  • Have some treats available for children who may have allergies to peanuts or other nuts.
  • Skip the Halloween candy sale on November 1. Cheap bags of candy sounds like a good buy, but you don’t need the sugar and calories.