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Healthy Halloween Tips

Summary: 
Frightened about the unhealthy aspects of Halloween? The President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition offers the following tips to help you and your family have a healthier Halloween this year!

Spooked by the thought of your child bringing home mountains of candy this Halloween season? Or perhaps you tricked yourself into having one too many sugary treats? If you’re seeking more moderation, less sugar, and continued physical activity this holiday, then read on for our easy solutions to your most common health-related Halloween challenges:

PROBLEM #1: You’re worried your child will be harmed by the seemingly endless supply of spooky sweets and treats.

SOLUTION: If you’re a health-minded parent, then you’ll be happy to hear that experts agree: it’s not what kids eat one day a year, but rather all year long, that significantly impacts their health and wellbeing. Before you start panicking about candy or other Halloween treats, review whether your family is eating nutritiously the other 364 days of the year. If your family’s diet could use a few more fruits and veggies, work on adding in healthy foods first before determining whether to scale back on the sweet stuff. Keep in mind that severe restrictions regarding food can have the unintended consequence of making them seem more enticing, so aim for balance over banishment.

PROBLEM #2: You’re fine with allowing your kids to have Halloween candy, but they came back with more treats than you know what to do with.

SOLUTION: Part of teaching your child how to enjoy sweets in moderation is explaining the concept of quality versus quantity. Encourage them to pick out only their favorite candies (and perhaps a few new treats to try), and then consider any of the following:

  • Offer to “buy back” their candy to trade in for a non-food reward, such as a toy, game, or activity (i.e. a trip to the local ice skating rink or laser tag, etc.)
  • Donate the excess candy to a homeless shelter
  • Save the extra candy for holiday baking
  • Challenge your family to come up with a nutritious dessert or snack using only a small bit of their leftover candy as a garnish or topping

PROBLEM #3: Your office break room is full of tempting sweets.

SOLUTION: Get permission to put the candy out of sight – it’s still there for others to enjoy, but placing barriers between you and mindless eating is a great strategy for keeping sugar consumption down. In addition, stock up on your favorite healthy snacks to grab when hunger hits. If you find you still want the sweet stuff, grab a small piece to enjoy with your more nutritious snack.

PROBLEM #4: You’re not sure how to be active and enjoy the Halloween holiday at the same time.

SOLUTION: For those that live in a walkable community, you and your family can have fun getting your steps in by walking your neighborhood while trick-or-treating, or by taking a walk together to look at Halloween decorations. If you live in an apartment building, opt to take the stairs rather than using the elevator, or play your favorite spooky music inside and host a “monster mash” dance party!

To avoid any frightening incidents this Halloween, be sure to check out the list of safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that you can follow to ensure a safe and fun Halloween for the whole family.  The U.S. Food & Drug Administration also offers a list of food safety tips for parents you may find useful.

Another fun way to make Halloween interesting for your family is to learn about the history of this spell-binding holiday! Here are some interesting resources that you can share before you head out for a night of spook-tacular festivities:

Posted In: 
Prevention and Wellness