Keeping Kids Healthy at Halloween: Are You Worried?
I have been bombarded with posts lately pitching healthier products, low-sugar candy, recipes and advice on managing how much candy our kids consume at Halloween. I am just curious, are you concerned? Do you let your kids go crazy one day of the year? I had a friend who was a nutritionist who says it’s not what you eat during the holidays that matter, it’s what you eat all of the other days in between! I know that I personally am concerned with keeping kids healthy at Halloween and year-round.
I am one of those moms that doesn’t let her kids eat a lot of sweets, so I appreciate the recipes, ideas and tips for managing the flood of candy that arrives late on Halloween and on a school night. Maybe I worry too much and I am creating monsters that will go off to college and gobble up everything in sight! I hope that I am teaching them life skills to manage their eating and choose to eat healthy once they are out from under my thumb. Here are 5 great tips from Wellspring – America’s leading provider of weight-loss camps for overweight young people, families and adults.
Wellspring Friendly Halloween Tips
by Cari Coulter, RD
Although holidays usually present weight controllers with situations centered on an abundance of unhealthy foods, Halloween definitely takes the cake (OK, candy) as the day most centered on non-nutritive, high fat treats. However, despite the challenge Halloween presents, it IS possible to survive, and yes, even celebrate, this holiday and still stick to your plan. Here are some strategies for making it a little easier.
1. Don’t buy candy weeks ahead of time. Even if it’s just two weeks before the holiday, and you ARE already at the grocery store, and the bags ARE on sale, resist the urge to make your purchase this far in advance. Buying your Halloween candy at the beginning of October extends the amount of time that these tempting little blobs of fat (treats?) are in your pantry and increases the likelihood that you will eat some (or all) before Halloween rolls around.
2. Avoid purchasing your favorite candy. Technically, these are going to be handed out to other people so there is no need to buy the one that tempts you the most. If you are less likely to overindulge in Twizzlers than Smarties, than buy the former and leave the latter at the store.
3. Keep the treats Wellspring friendly. While there are definitely a number of high fat candies that will take you over your 20g a day limit within a few bites, many candies and treats can fit into your plan. Most gummy and hard candies are fat free or very low in fat. You can also modify any Halloween themed recipes to be lower in fat than the traditional options. (See this month’s Newsletter recipe: Low Fat Caramel Corn). Focusing on hard candies can even decrease your intake further because they take longer to eat.
4. Stay smart about leftovers. Still have an extra bag of candy that wasn’t handed out? Kids come home with three bagfuls of treats? Instead of keeping them around the house, choose some Wellspring friendly favorites, toss out the rest of them. You could donate them to a homeless shelter, but those higher fat candies really do not do much good for anyone.
5. Limit the focus on food and candy. Halloween does not have to be all about sweets! Have your kids engage in fun activities like pumpkin carving, costume pageants, haunted houses, ghost stories, and other fun ghoulish games: Extra points if your activities get you moving!