Kids simply love Halloween! Dressing up in costume, roaming around the neighborhood with friends, and collecting treats are all things kids long for every year. Chances are, it’s not the ghosts or goblins that are frightening to you at Halloween, but the thought of what all those candies can do to your kids’ health (and teeth). Instead of putting a damper on the holiday spirit, use the following tips to make sure your kids won’t over-indulge in the sweet treats they’ve proudly collected.
5 Survival Tactics for the Halloween Sweet Season
Most parents screen the sweet treats their kids collect for safety reasons. They often discard candies that are not wrapped properly, or home-made treats. Why not take this opportunity to teach kids about nutrition and screen treats for nutritional reasons as well? Discard those chocolate pieces containing hydrogenated oil or shortening, fried chips, or sticky candies that tend to stay in the mouth for an extended period of time.
Split or Donate Treats
Teach kids about sharing! Split their collections with all family members. This will effectively cut their sweet treat intake by at least half. Alternatively, teach kids about sharing by donating a portion to the food bank, or mom or dad’s office candy dish!
Save Treats for later
Kids don’t need to finish all their collected treats in a week! Divide treats into several portions and put them in ziplock bags. Each week, bring out a new bag full of treats to make the treats last for several weeks (or even months). This is a good opportunity to teach your kids about restraint and portion control.
Be realistic! Your kids will never trade their sweet treats for a bunch of green asparagus. So you need to be creative to get them to trade for something as appealing and tasty! Here are a few items your kids will love…
- Welchs’ Dried Fruit -Kids will love these single-serve packs containing fruit picked at its peak. While they’ll love the taste, you’ll love the fact that you are incorporating more fruit into their diet. 1/4 cup of these dried fruits equals one serving of fruit.
- Dole Fruit Bowls – Packaged fruits are not inferior nutritionally. They are packed in their own juices, retaining most nutrients and fiber. Kids love these plastic bowls as they are easy to peel, and the fruit is bite-sized. A good trade-in snack for the sweet tooth.
- Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa Dark Chocolate Squares – We’ve all heard about the health benefits of chocolate. But not all chocolates are made equal. These squares are small enough that your kids won’t overeat them in one sitting. Keep in mind that the brand isn’t important – just try to choose a chocolate product that contains at least 60% cocoa content with real cocoa butter and natural ingredients.
Take it easy
After all, kids have earned their license to eat sweet treats during Halloween! Remember, moderation is the key. As long as you make sure that your kids don’t eat all their treats within days, just take it easy and enjoy the sweetest moments with family in this Halloween season.
Gloria Tsang is the author of 5 books and the founder of HealthCastle.com, the largest online nutrition network run by registered dietitians. Her work has appeared in major national publications, and she is a regularly featured nutrition expert for media outlets across the country. The Huffington Post named her one of its Top 20 Nutrition Experts on Twitter. Gloria’s articles have appeared on various media such as Reuters, NBC & ABC affiliates, The Chicago Sun-Times, Reader’s Digest Canada, iVillage and USA Today.