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Halloween Doesn't Have to Ruin Your Kids' Diets

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Updated January 29, 2014

Candy

Oh no! Too much Halloween candy.

Sarah Casha halloween pumpkin

Boo!

Sarah Casha

Wearing cute or creepy costumes and going trick-or-treating is a traditional way to celebrate Halloween. Your kids usually come home with candy. Lots of candy. Here's what to do:

Start proactively by feeding your kids before they go out trick or treating. Serve your kids a healthy snack such as a peanut butter sandwich and some fruit before trick-or-treating. If your kids aren't hungry, they might be less likely to gorge themselves on candy when they get home.

Let the kids enjoy some (or even a lot) of their Halloween candy when they get home from trick-or-treating (after you have inspected the treats for safety).

Then:

  • Have your kids "trade the candy in" for something better - books, toys, or something of your choosing. Then you can eat the candy.
  • Throw the rest away. It may seem wasteful, but if your child has difficulty controlling his or her candy consumption, this may be the best choice.
  • If you don't want to throw the candy away, give it away. Take the rest of the candy to work or group meetings. Hopefully, the adults will have good control over their candy consumption.
  • Put the extra treats into a high cabinet in your kitchen or pantry. Out of sight is out of mind, and you can control how many treats your kids get to eat over the next few days.
  • Divide up the leftover candy to be eaten a little at a time.

If you opt for the last choice, you'll need some lunch-sized paper bags, tape, stapler, and maybe some markers or pens. Place two or three small treats (or one larger piece) into each plain paper bag. Tape or staple the paper bags closed and keep them in a large box or bag. Let your kids pick out one bag each day. Or you can mark each bag with a specific date and your child's name.

Have a Healthy Halloween 

  • Don't buy Halloween candy early. You may just tempt yourself and your kids into eating it before the trick-or-treating even starts.
  • Promote a healthy Halloween in your neighborhood by handing out alternatives to candy like pencils, stickers, party favors or trading cards.
  • Give out individually packaged healthy treats like nuts, raisins, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, cashews, whole grain crackers, or little bags of microwave popcorn.
  • Have some treats available for children who may have allergies to peanuts or other nuts.
  • Skip the Halloween candy sale on November 1st. Cheap bags of candy may seem like a good buy, but you don't need the extra sugar and calories.
You might want to host a Halloween party for your kids. That way you have some control over the foods your kids eat. Include fresh vegetables and dips, baked chips and crackers, cheese and lean meats with 100-percent whole-grain breads for make-it-yourself sandwiches. Serve warm apple cider and plenty of water instead of soda.
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