Itâ€™s that time of year again when BIG bags of candy start appearing on the store shelves.Â And with the rising rates of childhood obesity, itâ€™s important to provide healthy alternatives to the traditional Halloween treats.Â
Here are some helpful hints from Meriter Dietitian, Krista Kohls, RD, CD, to keep your little ones healthy and happy this Halloween season:
Instead of handing out candy this year try these healthy alternatives:
- Granola or cereal bars
- Trail mix snack packs with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit
- Mini pretzel packs
- Fig cookies
- Animal crackers
- Goldfish crackers
- Sugar-free gum
Â Or ditch snacks altogether and hand-out non-food items:
- Mini Play dough containers
- Spider rings
- Halloween pencils
- Tiny decks of cards
- Glow necklaces
Little ones would likely even be happy with a dime or nickel.Â So, take the money you would normally spend on candy (some of the bags are $6.99 for 30 pieces!) and get change in dimes and nickels and put them in your Trick-or-Treat basket.
Donâ€™t send your children Trick-or-Treating on an empty stomach.Â Make sure they have a healthy, well balanced meal before heading out so they arenâ€™t tempted to snack on their candy.
Always keep your childrenâ€™s Trick-or-Treat candy in your possession and out of their reach.Â This ensures that your children are not eating a pound of candy right before bed each night.
Set a limit of candy that your children can have ahead of time (i.e. maybe 1-2 pieces each day).Â Eventually your children will probably forget they have Halloween candy and you can throw it out.
If your child needs a treat for school try making this easy Trick or Treat Trail mix:
- 1 cup of pretzel sticks (skeleton bones)
- 1 cup of reduced-fat cheese crackers (such as Reduced Fat Cheese Nips)
- 1 cup lightly salted roasted or party peanuts (or could add popcorn if the childâ€™s school has a policy that doesnâ€™t allow nuts)
- 1 cup orange or black dried fruit (raisins or dried apricots or dried peaches)
- 1/2 cup Halloween M&Ms (optional)
Combine all the ingredients in a big bowl and toss to mix well. Use a 1/2 cup measure to scoop out 1/2 cup of the mixture into a zip-top or plastic bag. Tie the ends closed with orange and black curling ribbon or decorative wire.
Makes 9 (1/2 cup) bags
Per serving: 213 calories, 6 g protein, 30 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat, 2.5 g fiber, 227 mg sodium.Â (recipe courtesy of webmd.com)