By: Heidi Boortz
Halloween is one of the most fun events of the year, especially for kids and kids-at-heart, but it’s also the one of the most dangerous when it comes to making healthy choices. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with “living a little,” and enjoying some of the sweet treats that the season has to offer, but there’s a big difference between “living a little” and eating an entire bag of fun-sized Snickers in one sitting. (And I don’t know about you, but if I’m not careful, that’s exactly what I’ll do!)
Here are ten ways, Letterman-style, to keep Halloween happy AND healthy! ”
Give toys instead of candy. Black and orange deflated balloons, spider rings, or bouncy balls are extremely cheap when purchased in bulk from online party stores, and can be played with quite awhile after a tiny piece of candy is long since eaten.
Find a children’s shelter or church that serves underprivileged children, and have your kids donate some or all of their candy to kids who didn’t get as much this year. Or take the candy to a children’s hospital where the kids were unable to go trick-or-treating, kind of like trick-or- treating in reverse! ”
Bring healthy halloween-themed snacks to children’s holiday parties at school, rather than the traditional cookies, cupcakes, and candy. (There will still be plenty of those things, I’m sure, don’t worry!) Check out this list here!
Try to counteract the less-healthy choices with extra-healthy choices this week, and especially on trick-or-treat day! In other words, don’t balance a bucket of candy Saturday evening with a bowl of sugary cereal Saturday morning. Have healthy breakfasts, lunches, and snacks all day so the body is better equipped to handle the onboarding of sugar later.
Simple steps can make healthy choices more “halloweeny”. Cut a jack-o-lantern face in one of the slices of bread before you make grilled cheese sandwiches. Take a mandarin orange and place a small green stem on the top to make it look like a pumpkin. Make hard boiled eggs or bananas look like ghosts. Kids love fun food, even if it’s not candy!
Consider bumping up your kids’ probiotic intake this week. Refined sugar can create an unhealthy gut, and probiotics can help boost the gut’s health. Look for yogurt with live active cultures, or serve kefir or kombucha. Culturelle also makes oral children’s probiotic supplements.
Remember that events are NOT less celebratory if the food is healthy, just as they are not more celebratory if the food is unhealthy. A party is fun even if no sugar is consumed!
Roast the seeds after you gut your pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns. Roasted pumpkin seeds, especially homemade from their very own pumpkins, are a special treat. BONUS: they’re also pretty healthy!
Start a healthy tradition for Halloween (and every other Holiday for that matter). A lot of the fun of holidays are the traditions we develop and nurture as families. So just make one that’s healthy, like a new healthy pumpkin recipe each year! Check out our board of healthy pumpkin recipes on Pinterest!
And the Number 1 way to keep Halloween Healthy this year:
Remember that some treats are ok. But after a few, get them out of the house. No one will really miss them that much.