Halloween is one of the sweetest days of the year. For most of us — children AND adults — Halloween is an excuse to indulge in a frightening amount of candy. Fortunately, this spooky day can be healthier and still be fun. How?
- Hand out non-food items. This is a simple suggestion that, judging from what my children used to bring home, isn’t being followed nearly often enough! Think of how much candy the typical child collects. Spider rings, bracelets, temporary tattoos, toothbrushes, colorful pencils or glow sticks will be a welcome break from all the typical candy items they’ll bring home.
- Consider giving out healthier food, like packaged animal or graham crackers, pretzels, popcorn, or cereal bars. Although some might be a bit higher in sugar than others, they are usually better alternatives to candy.
- Fuel your trick-or-treaters by serving them a healthy dinner before trekking door-to-door. This will support the idea that candy isn’t for dinner, but a treat. Serve good-for-you pumpkin soup or baked sweet potatoes in keeping with an orange/Halloween theme!
- When choosing chocolate, opt for heart-healthy dark chocolate when possible.
- After Halloween, pack the candy out of sight and limit kids to 1-3 pieces (depending on the size) a day. Have them choose their favorites, to enjoy after a meal, and have them brush their teeth soon afterwards. After a week, when the novelty has worn off, they may even forget that there is a supply in the house and agree to throwing it out!
For a mineral-rich autumn snack, try roasting pumpkin seeds:
- Wash seeds in a colander and shake off any excess water.
- Add just enough olive oil to coat the seeds lightly.
- Spread the seeds evenly on a cookie sheet.
- Cook at 300° for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once golden, remove seeds from oven and toss with desired seasoning
This information is provided by the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program within the Department of Public Health.