With the rising number of children who are overweight or obese, however, many parents are searching for healthier alternatives to the traditional Halloween fare. Fortunately for all of the ghouls and goblins, there are plenty of nutritious goodies to be had that are still tasty and fun to eat.
Get Started on the Right Paw
Before heading out for a fun-filled night of trick-or-treating, feed your hungry little werewolves and witches a nutritious meal. Having a full stomach will help curb their desire to snack on the goodies they have received as they venture from house to house. Dinnertime also provides you with an opportunity to review the rules of safety before venturing out.
Fiendishly Tasty Snacks That Are Lighter in Calories and Fat
If you will be passing out goodies to trick-or-treaters at home, why not skip the candy aisle when shopping and look for more nutritious fare? Here are some alternatives to candy that you can pass out that are sure to please even the pickiest trick-or-treater:
- Low-fat granola bars or fruit-filled toaster pastries
- Homemade caramel apples
- Packs of sugar-free chewing gum
- Boxes of raisins
- Packages of reduced fat cheese and peanut butter crackers
- Fresh fruit such as oranges and bananas
- Small bags of pretzels or popcorn
- Inexpensive non-food items, such as gel pens, crayons, or stickers
Host a Healthy Halloween Party
More and more parents are throwing Halloween parties in their homes rather than taking their children trick-or-treating due to concerns over safety. If you will be hosting a Halloween bash in your home, you can have more control over what goodies are available and you will also be able to keep a closer eye on your little goblins.
Here are some nutritious ideas for your Halloween party:
- Make a skeleton from cut up fruits and vegetables, with small bowls of peanut butter and low-fat ranch dressing to dip the "bones" in. Create "brain dip" by hollowing out a head of lettuce and filling it with cottage cheese or your favorite packaged vegetable dip. Place the head at the top of the "body".
- Fill a large bucket with water and apples and have an apple-bobbing contest. Be sure that this activity is supervised by an adult.
- Have large bowls of unbuttered popcorn, pretzels, and low-fat trail or snack mixes readily available.
- Make several batches of Quaker Oatmeal Raisin Cookies for a sweet treat.
- Hand out Halloween-themed toys and trinkets instead of candy as prizes for games and activities.
Halloween is for kids and candy. Thanksgiving pies, Christmas cookies, chocolate Easter bunnies, forth of July picnics, the list goes on.
The thing about holidays, is that they are special and rare. They are not normal days and we do special things on these rare days, like eat and serve treats that we normally do not.
Key words here are special and normal. Kids don't become overweight because a few special days a year they are allowed to eat candy for breakfast. They become obese because high calorie diets and little exercise are, for them, normal.
And, frankly, depriving them of the high sugar treats that all the "normal" kids are getting on halloween, isn't going to help them lose weight...it will only serve to tell them that they are not "normal."
Exposure does not make a person fat. It is poor choices and lack of will power. Supply and demand, is what it is about. As much as I would like to blame the monster who invented fettucini Alfredo, nobody shoved it down my throat. Nobody made my choices for me. Nobody made me fat except me.
And nobody is responsible for childhood obesity except the child's parents. It is our responsibility to make choices for our kids about everything from what to eat, to whether or not they wear a helmet on that god-forsaken-machine, to how late they can stay up and how much t.v. they watch.
But what do I know? I am one of those freaks who has only have 1 t.v. in the whole house. I actually think that 1 is more than plenty for 4 people and if the kids don't like what I am watching, they can go do something radical, like go play outside.
Just want to say that I completely agree, kay_h. I see these parents at the grocery store ... buying sodas and chips and chocolates ... every week. And then "society" gets blamed for their overweight children. When I tell people we only have 1 tv they're horrified. As if people had nothing to do before they could sit down in front of the tv for HOURS on end. Sure, my kid watches some tv sometimes. Like now that Halloween is approaching, he can watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown ... one evening a week. (He's 2, btw.) It's a treat he doesn't get every day year long. The rest of the time, we're doing things together. But some other SAHMs I know wonder how I "manage" without gluing my toddler to the tv. That horrifies me. My kid doesn't expect his toys to entertain him. He actively plays with them. And when we head out to the doctor's, I see the overweight little kids there in his age group. Not chubby. Not cute. Obese little children ... snacking on cookies in the waiting area. And then some parents have the gall to tell me my son is "too active" because he doesn't sit, mouth gaping and eyes glazed, in front of the tv there. And, of course, that he's "too thin" ... even though he's at a good weight for his age and size.
If my son gets to eat some processed candies one night a year then that's what it is for us. Because we choose to make it that way. When I make cookies or snacks throughout the year, I try to make healthy options and monitor consumption ... as parents, imo, should. A few holidays a year. One day every few months. That's the difference. It's not chips and soda, heaping portions, and chocolate cake every day at our house. No way am I going to teach my son to eat excessively or to think that unhealthy food is normal all the time ... or that sitting on your arse instead of moving about for entertainment is the only way to go about things. That's what my parents did and I'm still working through it. I want my kid growing up eating healthy and living healthy ... and understanding that a treat on occassion is nothing to be afraid of or feel guilty for having.
I also agree that teaching kids healthy eating habits, and then giving them choices on those days, probably works best. The ideas above are great for the parties; but if every family gave away pop-tarts ... somehow, I don't think trick-or-treating would be quite as fun.
I keep bringing up my sister and her kids, but I am so happy she is there as an example. Her kids are super-active. They eat every kind of fruit and vegetable imaginable to man, and love seafood and other good proteins. They know how to say "no, thank you" when they are no longer hungry, and they are never forced to clean their plates. They eat only rarely in fast food places, so they are still a treat. They do not have TVs in their rooms, they are only allowed to watch one or two programs a week. They do not own TV-video games, and their hand-held games are time-monitored. They entertain themselves and each other, mainly outdoors, and play every sport that interests them and are into scouts, camping, etc.
When on vacation, or during holidays, however, all bets are off. They are allowed to do pretty much what they want (within reason). And do you know what???? They STILL choose watermelon over ice cream 90% of the time. Their biggest thrill is picking the (little) boxes of cereal they get to eat in the morning. When they go to birthday parties, more often than not they'll take a bite or two of cake, but prefer fruit.
THAT, to me, is a balanced, happy, healthy way of raising your kids. They don't feel deprived; they can choose to eat the candy or not on Halloween and for a few days (but not for weeks after). And they get tired of a lot of the unhealthy foods fairly quickly.
Your sister sounds like a really amazing mom and woman, zarelha.
I think I'll tag this thread and look back over it when my little one starts getting bigger and the pressure sets in more to fit in ... for him with his peers and for me with their moms. :o
And getfitgirl is right - they do burn out quickly on the "fun" stuff and their bodies lead them back to the right path.
Original Post by kay_h:
I have 2 boys. High school jocks, both of them. When they are not at some team practice or game, they spend their days riding their 4 wheelers, shooting hoops, tinkering with small motors or the older ones car, and eating. oh, and right now they are with dad cutting, splitting and stacking fire wood for the winter. (I am reminded because they just pulled in with a new load as I am typing so I have to hurry because soon they will be in for more fuel) They are exposed to every bit as much of the junk as any other kid. Yet they are slim and hard and healthy.
You think that is the average teenager now days?
My opinion is that if a kid is overweight now then indulging them in all the holidays is probably not what I would do. Would you tell a recovering alcholic to go ahead and drink on the holiday's because it's tradition? I wouldn't. If your kid is like kay_h's then indulging a few times a year is probably ok. My son is almost 3 and eats pretty darn healthy so he will get one or two treats that night then we'll donate the rest of the candy.
Thanks for the wonderful ideas, I'm going to use some of them, I was just thinking about that too lol.
I'll probably go with passing out something non-candy, stickers, crayons, etc...
I think my daughter and I will enjoy some popcorn balls, and maybe some caramel/candied apples! She's not too into candy anyway, and only likes trick or treating for dressing up lol.
Original Post by bombshelle15:
Where do you donate your candy? Sounds like a good idea. :)
I have no idea, lol... in the past the candy was always donated to my stomach. Now that it isn't and my wife is eating healthy and no way i'm giving it all to my kid and I can't throw it out.
What do you guys think...
Original Post by getfitgirl:
I would give some to a local nursing home. I used to work in one and all the residents loved getting candy(some had no family either) they also love children visiting. My kids thought they had a lot of extra grandparents. Make sure to give it to the nursing station though some might be diabetics..
Great idea, my Grandfather is moving into one this weekend and my sons daycare is right next to one. Perfect! Thanks!!!
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