By Gina Noe
Healthy and Halloween aren’t two words you usually hear together, but here are some guidelines to help you and your family have a fun-filled Halloween without sacrificing healthy principles. These simple strategies will help you before and after trick-or-treating.
• Make sure you and your family eat a filling snack or dinner before going trick-or-treating so your children won’t be tempted to eat candy before getting home.
• When you arrive home, check the treats to make sure they haven’t been tampered with. Look for opened wrappers and discard anything suspicious.
• Have your children sort their candy and take pictures of them with all their loot. For younger children, make a counting game out of it. Ask them how many of each type of candy bar they have.
• Do not let children store their bag of candy in their rooms. Keep it in the kitchen to discourage mindless eating.
• Place chocolate bars in the freezer to help them keep fresh longer. Frozen candy takes longer to eat, so children can’t eat them too quickly.
• Eat trick-or-treat candy over several days as a snack or dessert. Try to limit the amount of candy eaten in one setting.
• Instead of giving out candy, opt for small toys or healthy treats. Ideas include small boxes of raisins, fruit roll-ups, granola bars, packages of popcorn, sugar-free gum, stickers, washable tattoos, yo-yos, rubber spiders, or balloons. If you must give out chocolate, opt for dark-chocolate varieties for its antioxidant properties.
• Have you and your child make an art project with their Halloween candy. Mosaics of your child’s favorite animal, TV character, cartoon character or sport can be made with glue and leftover candy. Be creative!
• Host or attend an all-ages Halloween party. Focus the attention on fun while shifting it away from candy. Have relay games (3-legged race, wheelbarrow, etc.), a costume party contest with non-food prizes, decorate pumpkins, or carve Jack-O-Lanterns, go apple-bobbin, serve healthy snacks, and let the children “trick” the adults.
Educational programs of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.