We know, we know. Halloween is a tough time to stick to your nutrition principles.
Fortunately, we have a few creative “dos and don’ts” for you this Halloween season. Here are some of our favorite strategies that keep the fun and health in Halloween for you and your kids or grandkids.
DO trick them with healthy Halloween snacks and foods
There’s no sense in trying to ban the candy. But perhaps (before or after trick or treating), you can sneak a bit of healthy food back into the “treat.” Following are some of the top hits in our families:
- Orange, blackberry and mango fruit salad
- Raw carrots and sliced sweet orange peppers
- Mango and black bean salsa served with organic black bean chips. Simply mix together one can of rinsed black beans, 2-3 tablespoons of lime juice, one diced mango, 1/3 cup of diced red onion, and a minced jalapeno pepper. Serve with black bean tortilla chips
- Roasted pumpkin seeds mixed with raisins and dried apricots
- Pumpkin quick bread or muffin. Add raisins or dark chocolate chips/nibs
- Creamy pot of butternut squash or pumpkin soup
DON’T get your favorite candy to hand out or get candy too early
It will only increase your temptations and if there are leftovers, well we all know what happens then!
DO go out trick or treating. Well, not for the candy, but it’s great to get out, get some fresh air and see your neighbors!
DON’T get the worst of the worst
If you are going to buy candy, choose some that do not have high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, or artificial coloring or flavoring. You can find some here: http://www.naturalcandystore.com/
DO be savvy with your leftover loot
Here are some great ideas that lend an opportunity to teach about the value of money, giving back, AND their health.
- Start a “trade in” tradition. Let your kids pick a few of their favorite candies and then pile the rest in a designated spot. During the night, collect the candy and leave a non edible treat in its place. Let them know that if they use their money to buy a toy, the toy will last much longer than candy which takes about 30 seconds to eat.
- Consider Operation Gratitude, a military support organization that sends candy to troops overseas. Dentists buy back candy from kids, then send it to Operation Gratitude, which distributes it to military bases. Visit halloweencandybuyback.com and enter your ZIP code to find one near you.
DON’T throw away the best part!
When cleaning out your pumpkin, don’t throw away what’s inside. Pumpkin seeds are very nutritious. They are rich in amino acids and zinc. Use the seeds to make our most popular snack recipe, found HERE. Pumpkin flesh contains many vitamins and minerals. You can use the pumpkin flesh to add to baked goods to sweeten them up without sugar.
DO consider passing out something other than candy
This is one way to keep the candy out of the house and reduce temptation. But if you’re nervous to break with tradition (or your child is mortified), you can always offer both candy and a non-sugar alternative. Let your little ghost and goblin visitors make up their own minds. We’ve used this method the past couple of years and have been surprised at how many skeleton hands dive into the non-candy bowl.
Many of these items can be found at party supply stores at a low cost or at “dollar” stores. You can also find them in bulk on Internet sites that cater to parties, holidays and special events. Just be sure that anything you do give out is age-appropriate for your trick-or-treaters. Be aware of things with small parts that can be a choking hazard to any younger children or siblings.
- Stickers: In addition to fun Halloween or fall-themed stickers, opt for different types such as animal, ballerina, sports, hearts, etc.
- School supplies: Sound boring? Colorful erasers, pencils and pencil sharpeners can be found with all sorts of themes that appeal to younger kids. Parents will appreciate these as well.
- Mini crayon, chalk and marker sets: Kids love to draw and color, so these will never go to waste.
- Glow bracelets: Perfect for Halloween eve, kids will love to don glowing bracelets or necklaces as they walk around the neighborhood. It can even help make them a little safer
- Temporary tattoos: Most kids enjoy fun tattoos. The bonus is they can be washed away in the bath or shower.
- Other bulk items: Many kids are fans of little toys like mini kazoos, key chains, finger puppets, yo-yo’s, squirt guns, whistles, bouncy balls and spider or bat rings. Think party supply store and be creative!
And finally . . . DON’T think that once you have a piece of candy you might as well go for the bag because your “diet” is blown.
It’s okay to have a little indulgence! Just keep it in check and when you have that piece (or pieces) – be sure to eat it slowly, hold it in your mouth for a little while and really taste and enjoy it, no guilt attached. And then remember that tomorrow is a new day! More on that subject here with our “not so average Halloween advice” blog.