In the United States, childhood obesity levels are rising, affecting 17% of all American children and adolescents. Apart from a lack of physical exercise and/or a well balanced diet, this trend is fueled by the easy availability of sugary drinks and snacks.
Halloween is a fun holiday for kids, but with the primary focus on trick or treating (and getting as much candy as possible), it’s difficult to avoid high calorie, tooth decaying sweets like candy bars. Parents who prefer an alternative for their children do have options. Here are three things you can do to give kids a happy, healthier Halloween.
• Give out only healthy Halloween treats like mini boxes of raisins, sugar free hard candy or gum, individually packed crackers or pretzels, 100% juice boxes, or candy-free treats like inexpensive plastic toys (vampire teeth), Halloween themed stickers, glow sticks, mini packs of crayons, pencil toppers, containers of “slime,” etc.
• Before your children go trick-or-treating, be sure to feed them. An empty stomach might tempt them into eating candy outside the house. Make a prior agreement as to how much candy they will be allowed to eat over several days. Have them choose each day’s portion ahead of time, and put the candy in a plastic bag. To make it more fun, let them decorate the bags with stickers. Put the rest of the candy away where they can’t reach it, donate it, or take it to work and put it in the break room.
• Throw a Halloween party with like minded parents. To put the focus on fun rather than food, include plenty of games and activities like paper pumpkin decorating, bobbing for apples, face painting, a costume contest, telling scary stories, a scavenger hunt with prizes, etc. Be sure to send out cute Halloween party invitations (or Halloween photo invitations for a personal touch). Avoid sugar filled soft drinks. Scare up nutritious snacks that appeal to kids’ love of gross things, such as…
GHOULISHLY GOOD ROTTEN BLOOD PUNCH
Combine 2 cups apple juice with 4 cups cranberry raspberry juice (100% juice, not sweetened cranberry juice cocktail – be sure to check the label). Add 2 cups plain or raspberry flavored, unsweetened seltzer water. Serve in a punch bowl with a block of ice or ice cubes. For an extra scary touch, freeze gummy worms or Halloween gummies into the ice.
WEREWOLF FOREST POPCORN
For each child, put 1 cup air popped popcorn (lightly sprayed with olive or flax oil, sprinkld with cinnamon) into an individual plastic bag + 1/4 cup mixed dried fruit, nuts and seeds such as raisins, cranberries, blueberries, goji berries, golden berries, cherries, apricot or pineapple slices cut into small dice, raw sunflower seeds, raw pumpkin seeds, peeled almonds, pecan pieces, and a few chow mein noodles. Fasten top with orange ribbon.
Use Halloween themed cookie cutters to cut scary shapes out of different flavors and colors of fruit leather (homemade or bought).
About the Author
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