Every year I buy mass amounts of Halloween candy which I then have to stash at my neighbor’s house so I don’t mow down all the M&Ms. Yes, I lack willpower. But this year I’m going to think outside the bag of M&Ms and take a cue from my grandma. She gave out hot chocolate packets and was the hit of her neighborhood. Halloween doesn’t have to be a nutritional nightmare. To find out some healthier treats, I went to Karen Graham, RD, a nutritionist right here in Phoenix. Here are her healthy Halloween picks (no trick)…
1. Think outside the box of chocolates. Set a good example in your neighborhood by handing out lower sugar/lower calorie treats, such as:
*Ginger snaps, animal crackers or graham crackers (they have less sugar)
*Gummy candies made with real juice
*Dark chocolate-squares (dark chocolate has less sugar)
*Little boxes of organic raisins
*Crackers with peanut butter filling
*Cereal bars- lower sugar versions
*Single packets of microwave popcorn
*Packets of trail mix without peanuts (allergies)
2. Think outside the candy store. The typical mini-size candies aren’t only loaded with sugar; they contain all types of artificial flavors and colors. Look at Sprouts and Whole Foods for healthier versions of treats to give out. Whole Foods will not sell anything with artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners which makes it easier to shop for healthy Halloween treats.
3. Think non-eat treats. Consider non-food treats such as items given out in birthday goodie bags, like:
*Child size toothbrush
And a few more tips for a healthier Halloween…
*Don’t send your children trick-or-treating on an empty stomach. Give them a healthy meal; it’ll reduce their urge to eat the treats while they’re out.
*Teach kids moderation by setting limits on when and how much they can have and stick to it. Put it out of their reach and allow 1-2 pieces per day. Parents should do the same. It can be very tempting to eat what your kids brought home.
*If your kids come home with a large amount of candy, work out a deal to buy it from them, by the piece or by the pound. They can use that money to buy a toy.
*Many dentists have Halloween “Buy” back programs. They collect the candy and send it to the troops overseas. This way you and your children aren’t tempted by all the candy sitting around the house—and the troops receive a welcomed treat! Check this link to see if your dentist participates in the program: www.halloweencandybuyback.com