Is the thought of Halloween candy spooking you out? No need to worry, here are some strategies that can help you and your family have a healthier Halloween.
Fill up first
Make sure your child is eating balanced, healthy meals throughout the day so they get all of their nutrients in BEFORE the sugar intake. Also, make sure they have a well-rounded meal with protein, fiber and vegetables right before trick-or-treating. If their tummies are full before they embark on their costume-clad adventures, they will be less likely to overindulge.
Portion control is key
Encourage your child to choose the fun-sized candy bars if available. These smaller sizes are more appropriate for children and enable them to have a few different types of candy before going into sugar-overload (aim for 1-3 fun-size candies). Also, use a smaller bag to carry your trick-or-treats in. The pillow-case method is not recommended because it encourages children to take as much candy as possible, whereas the small-bag method will urge them to only take one piece from each house.
Work for that candy
Leave the car at home and walk around the neighborhood to retrieve your treats. Getting some exercise will help even out the caloric load of a super-sweet Halloween night. Exercise will also help you digest the candy and make you feel better at the end of the night. Also, if your child is carrying their own trick-or-treat bag, walking might be a good incentive to not let the bag get too heavy with candy. Set a goal for how many houses you’ll hit and make sure to bring water!
Choose high-quality candies
Yes, it’s true, not all candy is created equal. Choose candies with a shorter ingredient list and try to avoid anything with “high fructose corn syrup” or artificial colors. Look at the nutrition facts label and choose candy that is lower in added sugars and saturated fat. If you’re on the other side of the trick-or-treating, consider giving out non-candy items like clementines, 100% juice boxes, sugar-free gum, dried fruit, or trail mix.
Limit the leftovers
Leftover Halloween candy is likely inevitable if you went out trick-or-treating all evening. However, that doesn’t mean the next few days/weeks have to be filled with sugar-binges. Instead of restricting or forbidding your child from having more treats, encourage them to mindfully enjoy a single piece of candy or two. Also consider removing the temptation by keeping the Halloween candy in a spot that isn’t directly visible. Out of sight out of mind, right? You can also donate the candy or incorporate it into healthy snacks such as homemade trail mix.
Written by: Sarah Riley, MS, RD, LDN