Trick-or-treat your way to good health

Learn how to keep your Halloween celebrations healthy this year.

As we move further along in October and the leaves turn colors and fall, thoughts turn to Halloween costumes, parties and trick-or-treating. Enjoying a healthy holiday that is traditionally filled with candy and sweet treats can be done with careful planning. It can be difficult to make healthy choices when surrounded by candy and treats from numerous Halloween parties and trick-or-treating. If you and your family have been practicing healthy eating habits on a regular basis, it should be easier to make good choices when it comes to the treat-filled holiday.

If you or your children are attending school or family Halloween parties, think outside of the box for a healthy Halloween snack to send for the party. A few ideas could be popcorn balls, sliced apples and fruit or peanut butter dips, homemade pretzels and dips, or dried fruit. Kids can make a yummy treat for their school parties with English muffins, fruit and or peanut butter dip and then use raisins, blueberries, sliced fruit, chocolate chips and other items to decorate and make a scary face on the muffins.

When it comes time for trick-or-treating, make sure to allow time for kids to eat a healthy dinner or snack before they go to help them resist the urge to dig into their Halloween bags for a snack. Kids need to be reminded for safety reasons, not to eat any Halloween candy or treats until they get done trick or treating and a parent or adult inspects their items. After the safety inspection, help you child monitor how much of their treats they enjoy at a time. Help your children understand that high calorie, sugar and fat treats can fit into a healthy lifestyle in moderation.

Looking for healthier options to hand out to your trick or treaters? There are numerous possibilities for healthy food treats or even nonfood items to consider:

  • Popcorn balls
  • Cereal bars
  • Trail mix
  • Packages of low-fat crackers with cheese or peanut butter filling
  • Animal, gold fish or graham crackers
  • Raisins and chocolate covered raisins
  • Sugar-free gum or hard candy
  • Gummy candies made with real juice
  • Individual juice drinks (100 percent juice)
  • Snack pack pudding
  • Applesauce cups
  • Single-serve packets of low-fat microwave popcorn
  • Sugar-free hot chocolate packets
  • Small toys
  • Glow sticks
  • Costume jewelry (plastic rings, necklaces and bracelets)
  • Funny Halloween glasses
  • Tiny decks of cards
  • Small stuffed animals
  • Pencils, erasers, markers or crayons
  • Stickers or temporary tattoos
  • Bookmarks
  • Coloring books
  • Bottles of bubbles
  • Coins (pennies, nickels, dimes)
  • Bouncy balls
  • Jump ropes
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Plastic or foam fliers

The Halloween holiday provides parents and caregivers with a great opportunity to help kids learn more about healthy eating; the United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate provides information about how to enjoy all foods in moderation.

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