Before we give you this list of five ways to make Halloween healthier, can we just ask one question: Why can't little ones just have ONE day to go nuts and be kids??
This includes going nuts on sugar! As far as we see it, Halloween should be a FUN holiday that is self-aware of it being an indulgent few days — something that is quickly replaced by moderation and health-consciousness afterwards. It's a few days out of 365 focused ones. A reward and a sacred time for kids around the world.
Fill up before trick-or-treating
If kids are full before they go trick-or-treating, then they will eat fewer pieces of candy afterwards.
Off to a good start… this is like not going to the grocery store on an empty stomach!
Hand out non-sugary foods and toys
Nutritionists suggest some more wholesome treats that parents could give trick-or-treaters. [Some] think animal crackers, mini rice cereal or granola bars, whole grain cheddar cheese crackers, and sugar free hot chocolate packets, make good treats. [They] recommend pretzels, apples, tangerines, fruit leathers, or a trail mix of whole grain cereals. [They] also say kids will usually take cool toys over candy if given a choice, so she advises parents to consider pencils, erasers, stickers, tattoos, glow sticks, and Play-Doh containers. “Often [children's] excitement is in collecting the candy, rather than eating the candy.”
What in the…?
Sometimes it’s what’s on the outside that counts more than what is inside. “It’s all in the packaging with kids. You can make healthy treats, but you can package them in a really cool, spooky way that will make them more likely to consume it.” Lemond suggested freezing frozen yogurt in small paper cups and placing them in a cooler with dry ice for a spooky, smoky effect. Decorating the cooler to look like an old chest can make it more fun for kids to dig into the healthy treats.
Cheddar popcorn balls in a plastic baggie sporting a smiling face can be instant pumpkin heads that are also a hit with kids who won’t miss the sugar of a sweeter treat.
Wait a minute. Anyone else not buying this?? It's like they're ignoring what Halloween is all about completely.
Besides, we think it's probably safer to eat officially wrapped and sealed things anyway — and who wants to take potentially dangerous toys from strangers?
Trick-or-Treat and Exercise
Encourage parents to make their children walk from house to house instead of driving them. Parents can even encourage siblings or friends to wear pedometers or activity meters and start a friendly competition for who can be the most active while they are collecting candy.
This is actually a great idea. Whatever happened to the day where this was just how it was anyway — walking from house to house??
Keep your favorite sweets. Hide the rest…
Some nutritionists suggest that a little goes a long way and say it’s best to allow kids to have 1-3 pieces of candy a day, starting with lunch at school, as an afternoon snack, or after dinner, making it a regular part of meals. The rest of the candy can go in the freezer so that it’s out of sight and out of mind.
We like this too… for AFTER Halloween. ON Halloween, a kid should be able to go nuts. It's part of childhood!
…Or give it away
When children get back home from trick-or-treating, have them make two piles: one for the candy they want to keep, another for the candy they will not eat. Consider donating the rest to a local senior citizens home, food pantry, Ronald McDonald House, or children’s hospital.
You can even make money off your stash and make a U.S. soldier’s day at the same time. This year, more than 1,000 dentists nationwide are buying candy from kids — $1 per pound — and then shipping it to U.S. troops overseas via Operation Gratitude as part of a Halloween Candy Buy-Back program. Soldiers will receive toothbrushes, floss, and mouthwash with each handful of candy so that they can brush thoroughly afterwards.
In addition to the cash, participating dentists will also give kids treats, such as restaurant coupons and Xylitol gum made with a naturally-occurring sweetener that may prevent tooth decay and reduce cavities.
Sharing is a great thing to instill, and we like this idea too. We mean, if they aren't going to eat the candy they don't like anyway, right??
So there you have it, guys. Some good tips, and some outlandishly naive tips — from people who clearly don't understand what Halloween and childhood is all about.
LOLz! We think this list of candy to avoid is MUCH more realistic!
Just keep it to a few days and get back on track with moderation!
[Image via AP Images.]