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Managing weight can be a challenge – especially during Halloween. However, a little pre-planning can go a long way. Below, we discuss some helpful tips and tricks to make this Halloween healthier for everyone involved.
When considering the candy that is collected while trick-or-treating:
#1 – Examine Halloween candy immediately.
After trick-or-treating, parents should inspect ALL candy. Look for and throw away:
*Always be sure to read all candy labels carefully!
#2 – Eat before you go.
Make sure your children have a healthy, filling dinner before they go trick-or-treating. This will reduce snacking while walking as well as overindulging on candy afterwards.
#3 – Use a smaller bag for candy collection.
Parents can minimize the amount of candy brought home by providing kids with a smaller bag or pumpkin basket instead of a large bag.
#4 – Be selective.
After trick-or-treating, allow your kids to choose one or two of their favorite candies, and then take the rest away. Have your children eat their candy with a cup of low fat milk to minimize the sugar spike before bed.
#5 – Be disciplined; opt for the “fun size”.
Some healthier choices for candy bars are the “fun size” instead of the full size. If you have a choice in chocolate, go for the dark chocolate, which is a little bit healthier.
Once your kids have their 1-2 pieces of candy, put the stash away, and only allow them to have one piece of candy per week as a treat. To be fair (as well as a good role model), parents should follow this rule as well!
#6 – Offer a ‘Candy Trade’.
Give your kids the option to trade their candy in for a favorite non-food item, like: shoes, clothes, cash, iTunes gift cards, or movie tickets. This rewards them for making a healthy decision.
The following are some non-edible treats that most kids will enjoy:
If food is your preference, the following treats are better choices than candy:
Just because it’s Halloween, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go door-to-door collecting candy. Instead, give some of these ideas a try:
If your child is diabetic, it doesn’t mean that he/she can’t participate in trick-or-treating. There are ways to make Halloween safer for them. For example, if your child is walking a lot that evening, he/she may be exerting more calories and may need to use more insulin.
As much as possible, make an agreement with your children to wait to eat the candy when they are home so that you can carb count appropriately.
Parents should be educated about how different types of candy impacts blood sugar. For example, chocolate with more fat has a slower release of sugar than the sugary candies that cause a quicker release of glucose.
About Samareh Hill, MD
Dr. Samareh Hill is a board certified pediatrician with WakeMed Physician Practices, Pediatrics. Her professional interests include research on general pediatrics and obesity, and developing public programs and interventions aimed at preventing childhood and adolescent obesity.
3000 New Bern Ave.
Raleigh, NC 27610