Halloween is a fun, family-oriented holiday, where you can mingle with neighbors, get creative with costumes, and enjoy the crisp fall weather. Oh yeah, and there’s some candy involved too. But don’t let that spoil your fun or your health goals. Use these tips to make the most of Halloween night and wake up the next morning with a happy tummy, and happy kids too!
- Have your children eat a balanced meal before Trick or Treating. While you may have every intention of rationing out their candy, you may not be able to stop them from dipping into it when they are walking from house to house. If they haven’t already eaten dinner, they may be more inclined to have a few pieces too many. On an empty stomach, all that candy can cause blood sugar to spike, then crash, leaving your children feeling tired and hungry all over again.
- Even if it’s cold out, don’t drive from house to house. Make sure your children bundle up and make sure they are wearing comfortable shoes so that they are willing to walk, and try to go further than just your neighborhood. All those extra steps can help burn off excessive calories from candy. Start early so that if your children get tired, you can go back home for a break, then head back out. Make sure older siblings who are not Trick or Treating (but may eat some of the candy accumulated) come along for the activity. You can even give your children pedometers and have a contest to see who can get the most steps in. If it really is too cold, most malls offer Trick or Treating while walking from store to store.
- Buy candy the night of Halloween. That way, you and your children are less likely to eat it beforehand. Buy candy that you and your family don’t enjoy for the same reason. Choose fun-sized candy bars and candy that is lower in fat, such as Twizzlers and York Peppermint Patties in case you do decide to eat some. Be sure to keep your receipt so that if you have unopened bags leftover, you can return them to remove the temptation from the house.
- Be sure to only keep your children’s favorite candies. If you hold on to candy that they don’t want, you’re likely to be the one eating it! Give unwanted candy away to neighbors or food pantries.
- Remember that candy is full of preservatives and has a long shelf life. There’s no reason to finish it all right away. Store candy out of your children’s reach, and give them a piece now and then over the next few months. If they receive full or king-sized candy bars, be sure to cut them into pieces instead of giving the whole thing at once. Let them ask for it instead of offering it on a daily basis.
- Plan a party that’s focused on fun activities, like pumpkin carving, scary stories, and face painting, instead of food. Keep healthy and festive treats on hand. Play around with fresh produce; you can make baby carrots and celery into a pumpkin shape, make a monster smoothie with spinach and fruit, and have plenty of frozen grape eyeballs lying around. Be sure to keep the guests active with a Monster Mash dance marathon!
- Take advantage of parades and pumpkin-picking to get in extra activity while enjoying the festivities of the season.