Halloween is right around the corner, and you know what that means – trick or treating! Nothing says Halloween like buckets of treats, and it can be tempting to reach for the gooey chocolate and sugary candies this fall. When the whole family is excited about the holiday and can’t wait to dress up in a crazy costume and go door-to-door for treats, it can be a frustrating time for parents to keep the kids’ diets healthy and balanced. If you are trying to stay healthy this Halloween and avoid cavities, read on for some helpful tricks!
If the kids are full and happy before you step out the door to go trick or treating, they are less likely to fill their stomachs with candy. Serve up a healthy dinner before you all head out for Halloween night so they are not as tempted to mindlessly eat candy along the way. Better yet, let your kids choose their favorite healthy meal to fuel up for the fun night ahead.
There are lots of healthy choices kids will love just as much as candy. Snacks such as animal crackers, granola bars, whole grain cheddar cheese crackers, and sugar-free hot chocolate packets make for great replacement treats. Even healthier options include pretzels, apples, tangerines, or a trail mix. Spice up the packaging in fun, spooky ways to make children even more likely to consume the healthy treats. If you would rather hand out toys instead of food, consider pencils, erasers, stickers, tattoos, glow sticks, and Play-Doh containers. Other toys like bouncy balls, frisbees, jump ropes, and sidewalk chalk are not only fun replacements for sweets, but they encourage -kids to be outdoors and active as well. In the long run, the excitement is often centered around going door to door and receiving handouts rather than the candy itself, so a healthy replacement or fun toy can make them just as happy.
To keep kids moving, walk door to door instead of driving the whole family. Encouraging the family to wear pedometers or activity meters can boost the enthusiasm for physical activity. Try making a competition out of who can walk to most steps, go the farthest distance, or run to the next house the fastest. You can even reward the kids with a treat when you’re back at home!
When you have sugary treats in the house, you’re more likely to eat them. So after collecting candy while trick or treating, allow the kids to have one to three pieces per day and serve them with healthy meals. Store the rest of the candy in the freezer or out of sight to keep it off your family’s mind, or even donate it to local food pantries, senior citizens homes, or children’s hospitals. This encourages the kids to share their treats and think about others. Additionally, if you plan to hand out treats on Halloween, buy your least favorite candies so you are not tempted to eat them while they’re in the house.
Halloween parties are a great way to celebrate this time of year, so if you plan to host one and still want to keep your guests and family healthy, make the focus of your party fun activities instead of sugary treats. Include fun games such as dunking for apples, a costume or dance contest, a pumpkin hunt in the yard, pin the heart on the scarecrow, or musical chairs with pumpkins instead of chairs! Get their blood pumping with good old fashioned game of hide and seek with a Halloween twist: dress up in a creepy costume and chase them around to burn extra calories!
No matter how you celebrate Halloween, there are plenty of ways to keep the day healthy. Your kids will love the healthy treats, toys, and games and spending time with the whole family!
With two locations in Lafayette, Indiana, the Lafayette Family YMCA is a community committed to healthy living and social responsibility. For more fitness tips and to stay up to date about YMCA events, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, or visit our website.