There are a million articles out there about how to stay safe during Halloween, but there aren’t very many about how to stay healthy. Halloween is a candy-fest of epic proportions and it can be hard for parents who want their kids to eat well, be active, and still have fun during this holiday. You are faced with a dilemma. On one hand, you want your little ones to enjoy a big part of the fall season. On the other hand, you want to protect their health from the onslaught of sugar and fats that lead to addictions and health issues later on.
The best thing may be to take a more middle-ground approach to this less than healthy holiday. This is a time to be a touch more lenient than usual, especially if you’re still in the process of making the transition to a healthier lifestyle and your kids aren’t quite on-board yet. After all, it is a once a year thing, not every night. Let them have fun and enjoy a little indulgence, but you can limit how extreme it could get. Here are a few ideas that may help you keep your loved ones healthier this Halloween.
Allow them to indulge a little the first night after they haul in their stash and then limit access to the candy after that. Let them know ahead of time about these limits and the reasons behind them. Make it an adult discussion and ask them if eating it all in just a couple days is healthy. Let them come to the conclusion that the limits are fair and meant to protect them. It shouldn’t be a sudden surprise that you steal all their hard-won rewards when they get home. Allow them to have a set number of pieces each day. Some parents limit it to one piece, others to three. Choose what works for you and your child.
When doling out the daily dose of candy, you can also set a time or condition to this action. Give them a piece only after dinner or with a tall glass of water or almond milk to keep the sugar from hitting their system as hard. You can even make the candy a little reward for doing something good for you or themselves, like after they go play outside for an hour away from the video games and television, after they take out the trash, after they bike for a while, or anything else you want to reward them for.
Offer to buy the candy from your child. A much wanted toy or money to spend on healthier things might be more appealing to many kids, even yours. This reestablishes that the candy belongs to the child, as this is how most children will feel about it anyway. It can also teach responsibility, financial awareness, self-control, and discipline too.
Be a good example. If you give in to temptation often, how can you expect your children not to eat themselves sick when they have a bag full of treats? Don’t eat a ton of the leftover Halloween candy from your own bowl. Be a constant role model of what to eat. Kids see and pick up on things more than we often realize.
Feed your children well before sending them out to trick-or-treat. If their bellies are full of a wholesome meal and content, they will be less likely to snack on the candy while out or dive into the whole collection when they get home.
Eat sensibly the rest of the week, month, and/or year to offset the candy binge. Halloween doesn’t come around often and our bodies are also pretty resilient. One night of way too much candy isn’t healthy by any means, but it isn’t going to completely undo everything else you’ve done to keep your kids happy, healthy, and fit either.
Give out non-candy items. The kids may grumble and roll their eyes at pretzels, raisins, trail mix, popcorn, little cereal boxes, or sugar-free gum, but their parents will be grateful. Kids and parents will both like seeing some non-food items in their sacks too. Kids love stickers, yo-yos, small toys, false teeth, little bottles of bubbles, and small games.
Make Halloween themed dishes for your family and friends using fresh fruits and veggies. Be creative. Carve watermelons and pumpkins into fun and gruesome shapes or faces. Celery and carrots make great skeletons with red cherry tomatoes for eyes. Use your imagination and you can make some amazing things your kids will love to eat while feeling like they are fully celebrating Halloween.
Get together with other health conscious families and throw a Halloween party. That way your kids will have fun, eat well, get enough treats to satisfy them, stay safe, and still enjoy the social aspect of Halloween. Malls, community centers, and churches often have Halloween festivities that are safer and smaller too. Your kids will still get candy, but not as much, and you will have more control over what they get, see, hear, and do that night.
Turn your home into a haunted house for the night. You can enlist your kids to help out in whatever way they can. They will love the experience, dress up, have fun, and not miss the candy one bit. Trust me. My favorite memories are from doing spook alleys and haunted houses as a kid. I barely remember the nights I went out to trick-or-treat.
Take care of yourselves this Halloween. We hope you all have a fun, healthy, and safe night of scares, warriors. Feel free to share any more suggestions below for how to keep your kids happy and healthy this Halloween.
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Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research.. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.
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