Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Making Halloween healthier

Ideally, we would convince every house to only offer healthy treats for trick-or-treating, but let’s be realistic. Remember dreading the house that always gave away the toothbrushes or raisins every year? Bring on the chocolate!

Before we think about taking the fun out of this age old Halloween tradition, let’s try turning the focus from the joy of an extreme sugar-induced coma to something a little more fulfilling.

Consider these ways to utilize the Halloween candy:
• Donate it to a local food bank or shelter. This could be a welcomed treat for someone in need.
• Consider a sending a treat package overseas to our troops.
• Make treat bags and visit a local long term care center. Have the kids pass it out to the residents. They will appreciate the visit.
• Recycle it on Halloween night. Allow the kids to go trick-or-treating and then leave their candy out in a bowl for other trick-or-treaters. (This typically only works with the little, little ones!) It will disappear in no time.
• Parents! Be the parent! Ration out the treats when appropriate rather than allowing the kids to freely gorge themselves. Keep the treats out of reach. Moderation is the key.
• Open up all the candy to let it dry out then utilize the dried up candies for craft projects.

If you’re determined to hand out some healthier treats, here are some suggestions:
• Mini bags of pretzels.
• 100 calorie snack packs.
• Mini bags of trail mix.
• No added sugar packets of hot chocolate or apple cider.
• No added sugar granola bars.
• Sugar free packets of Kool-Aid, Crystal Light or equivalent.
• Craft supplies such as crayons, mini coloring books, markers, colorful erasers and pencils.
• Mini bottles of water.
• All natural fruit roll ups.
• Individually packaged low fat microwaveable popcorn.
• Money! Think pennies, nickels and dimes.

Marie Hill, RD/LD
Lead Clinical Dietitian
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano

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