October 24, 2007 > The Tricks to a Healthy Halloween
The Tricks to a Healthy Halloween
Submitted By Jaime Botello, California Milk Processor Board
Plan in Advance
Make a plan prior to Halloween so that you can keep tabs on what your children will be consuming that week. Talk to teachers (many schools hold Halloween events), party host(s) and neighbors to agree on the types and amount of candy, toys and treats to be handed out to children.
Offer to bring healthy treats to Halloween parties regardless of where they take place. Fun mini-milkshakes and pudding pops have lots of calcium and kids love them. You could also offer to bring magicians or performers who will keep kids entertained without focusing on food.
I'll Have Some Milk with That
Serve glasses of low-fat milk next to Halloween party staples like cookies and brownies. That way, kids will grab both and enjoy a healthier treat. Drinking milk is proven to strengthen teeth, prevent cavities, and boost calcium, vitamin D and potassium levels.
Don't be a Junkie
On the days leading up to Halloween, make sure children eat nutritious foods like low-fat milk that are rich in vitamins, protein and calcium. This way, kids have a way to balance the excess candy eating on the day of Halloween.
On Halloween night, give children an extra-nutritious dinner before trick-or-treating. It will reduce their appetite for sweets. Homemade macaroni and cheese made with whole wheat pasta and low-fat milk, plus veggies would be an example. Remember to serve a glass of low-fat milk with the meal.
Healthy & Non-food Alternatives
Consider handing out low-fat chocolate milk which provides more nutrition than candy. Kids love flavored milk and will drink it while trick-or-treating, curbing their appetite for candy. Parents can also pass other treats like stickers, pencils, or small toys instead of candy.
Make sure children get enough physical activity to burn off excess sugar and fat. Trick-or-treating can be a fun way to incorporate walking and exercise. Plan a few extra loops around the neighborhood. This process can tire out kids and prepare them to hit the sack when they get home.
Set boundaries with your child on how many pieces of candy they're allowed to eat on Halloween and while trick-or-treating. Allow your children to make their own selections, but tell them they can only pick a few pieces.
Help them Snooze
A glass of warm low-fat milk prior to bed will help kids get a more restful sleep. Milk contains tryptophan, which helps people to go to sleep easier.
Trade your children's Halloween candy for a desired toy to reduce candy consumption. Many schools, doctors and dentists have similar programs - so ask!
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Bring candy to work or throw it away. Kids don't eat what they can't see.
Set an Example
Parents should also stay away from eating too much candy during Halloween.