Cards on the table: I LOVE CANDY. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because people give me free candy. Heck, if you drove by in your sketchy white van and offered me candy, I'd be a goner, that's how much of a sucker I am for free candy. BUT! Now that I'm getting older and educating myself on how to manage my nutrition, I understand all that candy isn't exactly ideal for a healthy lifestyle. Here are some great ways to enjoy the spooky, sugary holiday with a healthy mindset!
5. If you must chocolate, go dark!
Did you know that dark chocolate is chock full of nutrients, most notably fiber and key minerals? It's also full of antioxidants and good cholesterol. Dark chocolate is good for your brain, your heart, and your skin, too! Look for chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or higher to sate your sweet tooth without hurting the rest of your body.
4. Pass out alternative treats instead of candy.
Candy doesn't have to define Halloween. All of those frighteningly sugary treats may be tradition, but there's a great trend these days for shaking things up, so it's easy to trick kids into a healthier holiday with a different variety of treat. Try handing out little cookie or cracker packets, pretzels, string cheese, granola bars, dried fruit, or even beef jerkey. Many of these options are available with wholesome ingredients (check the labels) that will be far better for the trick or treaters than another handful of candy.
3. Pass out fun prizes instead of food!
And what about non-food treats? Who says every child who comes to your door has to walk away with something to eat? It's so easy to buy small toys or gifts in bulk, and it's an excellent way to keep Halloween exciting and healthy. Pass out holiday pencils, bouncy balls, temporary tattoos or stickers, little noisemakers, or many other options instead of edibles. Plus, you'd also be helping children with allergies! Thanks to the Teal Pumpkin Project, more and more families are helping raise awareness about food allergies and providing an equally fun and safe Halloween option for children with allergies. If you're giving away non-food items, put a teal pumpkin out to let those kids know they have a safe haven with you!
2. Stay hydrated - and full!
As with any craving, a sweet tooth on Halloween can be curbed with a full stomach and plenty of fluids. Help your kids manage their urge to overdo it on the candy by feeding them a good dinner before sending them out to trick or treat. Take waterbottles out when going door to door, as drinking plenty of water will help keep that full feeling, preventing additional snacking. If your child's stomach (or yours!) is full, there's less need to stuff it full of sugary candy.
1. Throw a Healthy Haunts party!
Speaking of a good Halloween dinner - there are hundreds of cool recipes out there for spooky-looking food that won't settle into your love handles - and a few years ago, I managed to put together an entire party based on healthier options! Yes, ME, *I* put together a healthy food party, which tells you exactly how easy it really is! Spaghetti squash and some pasta sauce become guts in a bowl; hummus covered in shaved carrots makes for a beautiful pumpkin centerpiece; cut open apple slices with almond wedges become creepy monster mouths; you can even make zombie eyes from dried fruits! Have fun, play with your food for once, and then share with your friends!
What are your tricks for staying healthy during the holidays? What types of treats do you typically pass out for Halloween? What are you dressing up as tomorrow??