Rachel Wooters, bariatric dietitian at Crozer-Chester Medical Center
“Healthy” and “Halloween” are two words you don’t usually hear in the same sentence. Getting dressed up in costume and getting free candy make this holiday a favorite among kids. But, despite your kids running home after trick-or-treating with pillowcases overflowing with candy, you and your family can still celebrate this haunted holiday in a healthy way.
Yes, really – it can be done.
Instead of all of the sugary Halloween candy, try offering your children a healthy treat alternative. Apples or other seasonal fruits, Halloween-themed little bags of pretzels, Jell-O molded into Halloween shapes, homemade apple cider, string cheese, raisins and nuts are all healthier alternatives to candy.
Teaching your kids that healthy treats are a part of a balanced diet is important, but it’s also important to teach them the skill of eating in moderation.
Some Halloween candy is okay in moderation. Look at the nutrition food label to help decide which candy choice is better. I wouldn’t say to not eat your favorite candy and have a less desirable piece instead – you may still want your favorite candy and end up indulging in both. Just limit your quantity and availability to it.
You can do this by choosing the fun-sized candy instead of a full-sized version. Even though it’s a fun-sized piece of candy, limit yourself to just one piece since those calories can still add up. You can also avoid keeping your favorite kind of candy in the house or only allowing it as a special treat from time to time.
You can make eating candy in moderation easy for your kids as soon as they return home with their Halloween treats. Sort through their candy that night and decide how many pieces they can have each day. Divide it into lunch bags that they can have as you see fit.
Limiting both you and your children’s candy consumption this Halloween is important for your short-term and long-term health. Eating too much candy adds calories and can cause weight gain. Consistently eating too many sweets affects your blood sugar and can increase your risk of diabetes and other health conditions as you age.
And remember, Halloween is just one day of the year. Eating healthy and stay physically active all year has a more lasting impact on you and your family’s health than a few days of overindulgence in candy.