How to Have a Healthy Halloween

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How to Have a Healthy Halloween | Real Food RN

Another great guest post from my health-minded friend Bridget….

It’s Halloween Time! If you are like me, you have a love/hate relationship with Halloween. I love seeing all the kids on my street dressed up in their costumes, running up to my door, and yelling “TRICK OR TREAT!”  It is so much fun seeing happy kids!

The one thing I HATE is handing out candy! For the last few years I have struggled with the idea of handing out candy and I have tried a ton of different ideas (play dough, fruit snacks, pretzels, and CANDY). I have even kept my light off so that kids don't come to my house! Yes, I understand how bad that sounds!

With childhood obesity increasing at a disturbing rate, doubling over the past 30 years! Eating in moderation and increasing physical activity could reduce obesity rates. At the beginning of October I always think to myself “When trick-or-treaters ring my doorbell, what will I try to give them this year?” This year I have done some research on nutritious, tasty foods and non-food options! Make Halloween a healthier and more active holiday for children!

If you are fabulous and want to make your own, view Kate’s Healthy Halloween Treats post here

If you are horribly busy around this time of year and the thought of making your own scares you, keep reading. You and I are in the same boat!

Healthy Trick-or-Treat Alternatives

Think outside the box when choosing treats for your little trick-or-treaters. The calories in all those bite-size Halloween treats add up quickly. Think about this for a second, 4 “bite size” chocolate bars contain approximately 320 calories, 25 jelly beans have 140 calories, and 20 pieces of candy corn add up to 100 calories! Yuck! I don't know about you, but I do not have time to run off all those additional calories at the gym!

Treats

  • Cereal bars – Good brands to look for: Lärabar, Glenny’s, and Kind. (note from Kate: make sure they are gluten free and free of artificial ingredients, my personal favorite are Larabars — just fruit and nuts!)
  • Snack packets of dried fruit, nut and seeds (e.g. peanuts*, unsalted almonds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds)
  • Trail mix – Good brands to look for: Enjoy Life 
  • Gluten Free Crackers – Good brands to look for: Crunchmaster Multi-seed Crackers and Glutino Crackers
  • Gummies made with real juice
  • Mini boxes of raisins
  • Individual juice drinks (100% juice) (note from Kate: you can even find reduced sugar juice boxes at Trader Joes!)
  • Jell-O with fruit (no artificial colors or flavors)
  • Organic applesauce packets or cups
  • Single-serve packets of “popcorn” – Good brands to look for: Pirate's Booty Aged White Cheddar or Smart Puff’s with Real Wisconsin Cheese
  • Also, if it is warm where you are over Halloween, it is always a good idea to hand out water!

*Be careful of peanut allergies.

Note: Fresh fruits (e.g. apples, bananas and oranges) although really great treats, they are not considered safe options. Remember that individually wrapped items are best!

Non-Treats

  • Small toys and pocket-sized games
  • Glow sticks
  • Costume jewelry (plastic rings, necklaces and bracelets)
  • Funny Halloween glasses
  • False teeth
  • Small stuffed animals
  • Pencils
  • Pencil toppers or funny Halloween erasers
  • Markers
  • Stickers
  • Rub-on or stick-on temporary tattoos
  • Bookmarks
  • Crayons
  • Paint brushes
  • Pages from coloring books – Crayola has a ton of free pages to download, you can find them HERE
  • Bottles of bubbles
  • Coins (pennies, nickels, dimes)
  • Fake money
  • Whistles
  • I love going to the dollar store or the dollar section at Target to find these great gifts! There are a ton of find ideas to pick from!

Note: Some treats fit all ages, but small items should be limited to kids over age three. Don't want a choking hazard!

Not sure what to do with all of the candy that gets brought into your home?

If you have children bringing home a ton of goodies a good idea might be to go through the treat bag together, let your kids choose a number of goodies to keep, (a week’s worth or so of their favorites), after which they hand over the rest in exchange for their earned gift! Also, before you toss the “loot”, try looking for a dentist or orthodontist in your area who runs a candy trade-in program in their office. Some orthodontist’s will make donations to a local charity based on $1 per pound of candy you turn in.  It’s a sweet solution to handling a scary amount of sugar this Halloween!

Remember, whatever you do, Halloween is just one day out of the year. There’s nothing wrong with letting kids enjoy their Halloween spoils for a little while. Once the holiday has disappeared, any leftover unhealthy candy your kids bring home can vanish as well.

Note from Kate: you can also try being a “Switch Witch“, you simply have your kiddos exchange their candy for a prize or gift of their choice. Works like a charm. My favorite thing to switch for is DVD's of their favorite Disney movies. My daughter would hand over Willy Wonka's entire factory for a Frozen DVD

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How to Have a Healthy Halloween |Real Food RN

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