Halloween is just around the corner, and already many kids around the country are preparing their costumes for the annual tradition of trick-or-treating. Whether heading out with kids yourself, or stocking up for kids calling to trick-or-treat, many households can find that they have a large stock of candy at this time of year. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, Americans purchase nearly 600 million pounds of candy every year for Halloween. These foods can contribute excess calories to the diet, which may lead to obesity, a known risk factor for the development of cancer.
Follow our top tips to help your kids have a healthier Halloween:
- Have your kids fill up on healthy meals and snacks before going trick-or-treating. This can provide plenty of nutrients and help avoid excess hunger. For kid-friendly options, which are tasty and full of cancer-fighting nutrients, try Chicken Tenders, Fish sticks with Lemon Mayo, Vegetable Mac n Cheese, and Banana Slushies.
- Hand out healthier treats- try handing out small packets of nuts such as peanuts or almonds for a tasty snack which are full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Other healthy options include fruit, granola bars or unsalted popcorn. Healthier baked goods, such as our Pumpkin Muffins go down a treat with adults and kids alike.
- Toy tricks- Handing out non-food treats can be an excellent way to celebrate Halloween without the extra calories. Try providing Halloween-themed stickers, pencils or toy figurines for a fun choice that kids will love.
- Aim for treat size- whether handing out or receiving treats at the door, go for smaller treat-size candies that are portion-controlled, meaning you are less likely to overindulge. Always bear in mind that smaller portions of candy will add up over the course of the day or week, so be mindful of the total amounts consumed.
- Plan for left-overs- the huge amounts of candy given out on Halloween can mean that there are Halloween candies leftover until Christmas. While trick-or-treating, use a smaller bag to avoid gathering too many treats. After the day has passed, let your kids decide which candies are their favorites, and aim to ration these out after meals over a period of weeks to minimize health effects. Consider donating unwanted candy to charities or meals-on-wheels organizations who will pass it on to those in need. Freeze items such as chocolate bars to use as ingredients in recipes throughout the year.
- Enjoy the season- Halloween is about much more than just the candy. Help your kids to focus on the other fun aspect of the festivities by doing activities such as decorating your house, carving pumpkins and picking out costumes.
Hopefully these tips will help you and your family have a happy, healthy Halloween.