Jennifer Regester, RD, CDN, CDE
Halloween is a time for fall decorations, pumpkin carving, and clever costumes. But for some families, Halloween can be the start of unhealthy habits with too many treats, junk food around the house, and not enough exercise due to the colder weather. Sometimes these habits can last until the new year! Scary right?
Parents are often worried about how to handle Halloween. On one hand, parents don’t want to restrict their kids from eating candy and having an enjoyable holiday. On the other hand, parents don’t want all of their hard work of healthy eating the rest of the year to go to waste. Holidays are a time to celebrate with family and friends, and of course that means indulging in favorite food choices. However, moderation and finding the right balance is key to make your Halloween a happy and healthy holiday. Keep reading to find out tips to keep your loved ones healthy and happy this time of year.
- Be a role model by eating Halloween treats in moderation yourself. Buy Halloween candy the day before the holiday and toss out extra treats.
- Consider eating dinner before trick-or-treating or at least provide a festive healthy snack beforehand so kids won’t fill up on candy. Try pumpkin yogurt (equal parts yogurt and pumpkin) with a sliced apple and cinnamon.
- Hand out a combination of healthy treats (dried fruit, raisins), non-food treats (stickers, bubbles, crayons), and Halloween candy.
- Let your kids eat Halloween candy the night of trick-or-treating, but then set limits on the amount of candy they can eat the other days. Out of sight, out of mind! Hide candy in a place they won’t find it and let kids choose 1-2 pieces after dinner the rest of the week. This demonstrates that treats can fit in any healthy lifestyle in small amounts.
- Encourage mindful eating with Halloween candy, asking kids if they are really hungry with their stomach, instead of just wanting to eat more sugar. Encourage kids to stop eating before they feel too full or even sick.
- Talk to your kids about WHY it’s important to choose fresh, healthy food over refined food and sweets. Talk about health and what good nutrition can do for the body. Try not to focus on weight, but rather how nutrition can make bodies strong and healthy.
- Try to celebrate the season with festive fall activities! Take your kids to the Cropsey Community Farm for a day of fun. Carve a pumpkin and put it on display. There are always a lot of fun, fall activities to do that don’t center around Halloween candy.
Finally, remember Halloween, like any holiday, is just one day out of the year. It’s much more meaningful to your health to have a healthy lifestyle the rest of the year.
Jennifer is the owner of Eat With Knowledge, A Nutrition Counseling and Consulting Company. Please visit www.eatwithknowledge.com for details. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is so proud to be a member of the Cropsey Community Farm CSA!