Halloween is a holiday that can strike fear into the hearts of health conscious parents. Although most experts agree that modest amounts of sugar can have a healthful place in a child's diet, sugar overload from too many treats can lead to scary tantrums and meltdowns.
So, how do you find a balance between fun and nutrition? Try these tricks to help kids have a healthier and happier Halloween:
- Eat First. Be sure to serve kids a nutritious dinner or snack before they go out trick-or-treating. Nutrient-rich foods like milk, lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables will fill them up and cut down on the amount of treats they eat. Most kids love “nature’s candy” – fruit – and it can help satisfy some of their desire for sweets.
- Drink Chocolate Milk. For a better-for-you Halloween beverage, skip sugary soda and juice and give kids Sneakz chocolate milkshakes made with organic skim milk. The real dutch cocoa flavor will give kids their chocolate fix, while parents can feel better knowing that Sneakz provides essential nutrients. Sneakz also offers fun strawberry and vanilla flavors. Every shake of yummy goodness provides 1g of fiber, 5g of protein, and vitamins from whole food sources – including 40% DV of vitamin A, 20% DV of calcium and 6% DV of iron. Made with USDA Organic ingredients, Sneakz contains no GMOs, antibiotics or synthetic hormones, and no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. Encouraging kids to drink low-fat milk can help them avoid nutrient-void temptations at Halloween and beyond.
- Consider Non-Traditional Treats. Small toys are a fun alternative to traditional sweets. According to research from Yale University, kids are just as likely to choose novelty Halloween items like glow-in-the-dark insects, Halloween themed stickers and pencils as they are candy. Some other ideas are sidewalk chalk, bouncy balls, glow sticks, playdoh or bubbles. Or, if you decide to go the edible route, consider choosing options that are more natural, lower in sugar and made with better-for-you ingredients like raisins, fruit leathers or even a carton of low-fat milk.
- Set Limits. Since there are bound to be leftover Halloween treats, it’s a good idea to set some guidelines. Talk to your kids about portion size and moderation and let them know how many pieces of candy they’re allowed to eat on Halloween night and afterward. Let children make their own selections, but tell them that they should choose only the pieces that they really want and not eat less enjoyable sweets just to eat them.
- Offer a Candy Exchange. Allow your children to enjoy some treats on Halloween night, and then propose making a trade. In exchange for turning in all or a portion of their candy, they can have a new toy of their choice. Some parents enlist the help of the Switch Witch – similar to the Tooth Fairy, this good witch visits your home while the kids are sleeping and trades Halloween candy for toys. You’ll be surprised how few kids will turn this deal down!