Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tricks & Treats for a Healthy Halloween

Every Mom knows that Halloween is all about two things: dressing up and CANDY!  “Knock, knock!  Trick or treat?”  Let the candy feast begin!  Right?  Well, the truth is that Halloween does not have to be all about candy and a sugar-rush for the next month.  It can actually be a time to teach kids moderation, how to choose healthy treat choices and how to enjoy other goodies besides food and candy on Halloween.

Unfortunately we live in a candy-rich society where candy, sweets and high calorie foods are available all the time, not just on Halloween.  In fact, even the snack-size goodies have a good amount of calories, especially when you eat multiples of them!  Check out the “nutrition” of these bite-sized goodies:

•    Fun-size M&Ms: 73 calories, 3 grams fat
•    Candy corn (10 pieces): 75 calories, 0 fat
•    Fun-size Skittles: 60 calories, less than 1 gram fat
•    Tootsie pops: 60 calories, 0 fat
•    Fun-size Snickers: 80 calories, 4 grams fat
•    Snack-size Hershey's milk chocolate bar: 67 calories, 4 grams fat
•    Reese's pumpkin-shaped peanut butter cups: 170 calories, nearly 10 grams fat
•    Fun-size Reese's cup: 80 calories, 4 grams fat
•    Tootsie rolls (6 pieces): 155 calories, 1 gram fat

It’s not to say we can’t have a treat, but choosing wisely and indulging moderately is key for adults and an important thing to teach kids.  Here are some tips for a healthier Halloween:

Provide Healthier Halloween Options
•    Trick: Provide goodies at your front door, but provide nutrient rich food items. 
•    Treat: Kids will get a treat full of nutrition, not just sugar.  Try passing out things like chewy oat granola bars, peanut butter crackers, 100% fruit snacks or boxes of raisins.

Think Outside the Pumpkin
•    Trick: All kids want candy, but provide a treat without the calories like stickers, pencils or even rub-on fake tattoos.  
•    Treat: Kids will have something to play with and enjoy after the Halloween week.

Have a Treat Plan
•    Trick: Need your kids to eat their veggies?  Halloween might be just the trick!  Have your child eat their dinner first, including veggies then allow one treat from the Halloween pile. 
•    Treat: Your child will learn moderation and will see the importance of eating nutrient-rich foods first, then enjoying a small treat.

If you have a question for the dietitian, visit www.texashealth.org/askamy

Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD
Registered Dietitian
Ben Hogan Sports Medicine

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