Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tips for a Safe & Healthy Halloween

Keep your family safe and healthy this Halloween with the following tips:

Stay Safe
  • Get kids to walk on the sidewalk, not in the street, while trick-or-treating.
  • Carry a flashlight with you. Have the kids wear light-up necklaces so they’re more visible to vehicles in the dark.
  • Make sure costumes fit well and are short enough to prevent tripping or entanglement. Twisted ankles are another common injury seen on Halloween.
  • Be cautious about what you consume. If treats look suspicious, just throw them out.
  • Individually wrapped candy is best. Flu season has just begun, and germ-carrying hands digging in bowls of unwrapped candies can spread sickness.
--Dr. Blaine Bachim, emergency room physician at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth

Stay Healthy
  • Set up a trading station with some of your kids' favorite healthy treats, like dried fruit, packaged fruit bowls, or good-quality dark chocolate squares.  Encourage them to trade in their least favorite candies for healthy treats they know they love.
  • Teach your kids how to make good things last by splitting their haul into several smaller portions stored in plastic bags. Each week, they'll have a whole new supply of candy to enjoy, all while maintaining calorie and sugar control.
  • Cut your child's candy consumption by encouraging them to donate a portion of their candy to the food bank, or share with family members. They can feel like they're taking positive action, rather than being deprived.
  • Don’t hand out your favorite candy. Set yourself up for success by choosing something less tempting, and you’re less likely to nosh on the stash.
  • Don’t skip dinner. Candy-craving plus hunger pangs = key ingredients for over-indulgence.  Eating a balanced and healthy dinner will satisfy your belly and take the edge off your candy craving.  Focus on a meal rich with fiber and lean protein -- think chicken breast with fresh vegetables.
  • The worst thing you can do on Halloween, after most of the trick-or-treaters have cleared off the street, is set your candy bowl by the door or on the counter where you can grab a handful (or two) every day. Consuming just 300 extra candy calories a day will add a pound of to your frame in less than two weeks. Instead, set the bowl on the porch before you go to bed. The leftover candy will be gone by morning, guaranteed.
--Amber Massey, RD, LD, registered dietitian

Here's wishing you and your family a Happy Halloween!

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