Every kid looks forward to Halloween. What other time do you get to become your favorite character, and get lots of free candy? Unfortunately, all that candy floating around leads to lots and lots of excess calories for kids AND parents. The American Heart Association is stepping in to help you scare away those extra Halloween calories.
For the Trick-or-Treater
- Fill up first. What kid doesn’t want to eat their favorite candy right when it goes into their trick-or-treat bag? Having a healthy meal BEFORE your kids go trick-or-treating can reduce their temptation to snack while walking or to overindulge, because their tummies will be full.
- Bag the monster bag. Choose or make a smaller collection container for your child and steer clear of the pillow case method. If you encourage kids to only take one piece of candy from each house, they’ll be able to visit more houses in the neighborhood.
- Get moving. Get some exercise by making Halloween a fun family activity. Walk instead of driving kids house to house. Set a goal of how many houses or streets you’ll visit, or compete in teams to do as many as you can. Bring a bottle of water and a flashlight, and wear comfortable shoes for walking!
- Look before you eat. Check expiration dates and inspect all edibles before allowing children to eat them. Don’t let children eat anything with questionable or unknown ingredients, especially if they have food allergies.
- Have a plan. Halloween, and Eat Smart Month in November, can be a great time to talk with kids about moderation and making smart eating choices. Plan in advance how much candy they’ll be allowed to take at each house, keep, and eat. If they’re old enough, let them help decide what to do with excess candy.
What to Do with Excess Candy
Afraid you’ll be dealing with an excess of Halloween treats until long after Valentine’s Day? Here are some ideas for enjoying the evening’s haul responsibly and getting rid of leftover candy:
- Let each child keep enough candy to have one or two pieces a day for one or two weeks (long enough for the excitement to wane). Throw away, donate or re-purpose the rest.
- When your child asks for a piece of candy, pair it with a healthy snack: an apple, a banana, some nuts, or celery with peanut butter.
- “Buy back” candy from your child with money or tokens they can trade in for a fun activity: a day at the zoo, an afternoon playing at the park, going ice skating, or a day at the pool.
- Some dentists’ offices have buy-back or trade-in programs, too.
- Save it for holiday baking.
- Save it to fill the piñata at the next birthday celebration or give out with Valentine cards.
- Use it in an arts and crafts project or to decorate a holiday gingerbread house.
- Donate excess candy to a homeless shelter, children’s hospital, or care package program for troops overseas. A familiar sweet treat from home can be comforting at the holidays.
The American Heart Association also has tips for those staying home to hand out candy, and for Halloween party planners. To view the full article, CLICK HERE.