P. Mehta, RD/ www.healthfulfilling.com
With Halloween upon us, it’s natural to cringe at the bucket or buckets of candy your children come home with! Especially when their instinct is to start eating it by the handfuls!
To safeguard their health, parents set limits and rules for candy eating which is really necessary, especially when our country is facing an overweight and obesity crisis amongst children and adults. One out of three children is overweight or obese, and about 7 out of 10 adults is overweight or obese. Here are a few things to keep in mind that can help have a fun and healthy Halloween holiday.
1. Limit or avoid unhealthy ingredients when buying Halloween candy, such as partially hydrogenated oils, which are trans fat, and highly saturated fats like palm oil and coconut oil. Look for candy made with milk or milk chocolate as main ingredients.
2. Halloween parties don’t have to include a whole table of sugar laden treats. Instead add in healthier treats that have more nutrition value like oatmeal raisin cookies, apples with caramel dip, and fruit parfaits. Limit or refrain from offering sugar filled drinks or soda, since kids are already inundated with sweet treats. Opt for milk, 100% fruit juice or water.
3. Keep healthy snacks on hand for kids to snack on before or after trick or treating. Like veggie trays, fruits, whole grain crackers and cheese, finger sandwiches. Offer these foods as snacks at Halloween parties as well to take the focus away from only sweet treats.
4. Set limits on candy/treat eating so kids don’t splurge on Halloween candy. Continue the habit of placing it on top cabinet shelf and limit to eating candy once a day or only two to three times a week. Try to brush after eating candy.
5. Halloween treats don’t have to be just candy–they can be halloween knick knacks like stickers, erasers, rings, pencils, or glow sticks which also comes out to be very similar in price to candy.
Have a healthy and happy Halloween!