The other day I was joking around and told my dad that I wasn’t going to take my kids trick-or-treating and his response was simple: “Then you don’t need to have kids, Ashley.” (Clearly there was no candy restriction in my house growing up.)
Really, both of our comments were comical: I shouldn’t have kids because I’m not going to take them trick-or-treating on one night out of the year? But am I really going to be able to tell my child no when that’s the only thing that they want to do?
Regardless of how silly our conversation sounded, it really got me thinking. How will I handle this holiday one day down the road when I do have children? Or better yet, as a dietitian, how would I recommend that you handle halloween.
Some people say, “Oh, Ashley. It’s one night.”
Nowadays, it’s a pillowcase full of candy that lingers for weeks and months full of garbage and non-food items that are only hurting our kids. Sure, I’m fine with a piece of candy here and there. I will never restrict my child from eating a piece if that’s what he or she wants, but hopefully, I will do a good job of teaching my child that candy is not food and that it should be consumed in moderation (if at all).
I told my dad that maybe I would let them go and then they could choose a few pieces out of the bag and then we would throw away the rest? Or maybe I would just pay them to hand over the bag of candy. Haha, how desperate does that sound?!
While it’s certainly fun to run around with your friends, dressed up in a fun costume and see who can get the most candy as a child, as an adult, I challenge you to give these children something that will actually help them and not harm them. It starts with the us. If we change what we are handing out on Halloween, kids will be forced to change what they are consuming. And I promise, I’m not asking you to hand out apples, oranges, and carrot sticks.
Think about if no one encouraged your sweet habit many moons ago, wouldn’t you thank them now? Here are a few healthy halloween treats that you can give away this year on Halloween besides candy.
- Popcorn Gloves: Kids love anything that is Halloween themed… not the lame apple that their grumpy neighbor handed them. They will love these gloves because they are “spooky” and festive, yet little do they know, popcorn is a fiber rich whole grain that is actually good for them! Grab your kids and have them help you stuff the gloves.
- Dark Chocolate Covered Raisins: The antioxidants in the dark chocolate plus the sweetness of the raisins make chocolate covered raisins a choice children will love. This duo will provide a dose of healthy fiber, vitamins and minerals instead of health robbing sugar.
- Yogurt Covered Raisins/Berries: Have you ever tried these? They are delicious! And sweet enough to satisfy any sweet tooth. The yogurt provides calcium, while the raisins or berries will provide fiber, along with several antioxidants, vitamins and minerals!
- Trail Mix: You might think that this sounds lame, but kids will love this fun concoction. Combine nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, popcorn and dried fruit into little snack bags. You can also throw in a few larger plastic spiders to make it Halloween friendly. This concoction is full of healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, providing them a snack that will do much more for them than any candy will.
- Dried Fruit: There is nothing to not like about dried fruit, even kids love it. My favorites include dried mangos, dried strawberries, dried apples, dried apricots and dried blueberries. There’s no debate that dried fruit is not sweet enough to satisfy any kids sweet tooth, as well as provide ample fiber, vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy this halloween!
- Mini Granola Bars: One of the easiest routes to take to buy a healthier mini granola bar. A few good ones include mini Lara Bars, mini Cliff Bars, Nature Valley Oats and Honey single packs. But you can even make your own out of oats, honey, dried fruit, nuts and a few dark chocolate chips.
How does your family do Halloween? How do you handle the candy overload? No big deal or is there a method to the madness? I’d LOVE to hear!
Have a great day!