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October 28, 2013

How to Have a Healthier Halloween.

Gone are the days of trick-or-treating for endless hours and coming home with a bag of loot almost too heavy to carry.

Many people are opting for healthier choices these days and experiencing the health benefits. When Halloween comes around each year, parents struggle to maintain the healthy habits that they have helped their children develop. Parents don’t generally want to be viewed as “Halloween Scrooges,” yet they want to limit the sugar that their kids eat.

Too many kids still eat more sugar than ever. This leads to a high consumption of high fructose corn syrup, which is known to be a leading contributor to childhood obesity. High fructose corn syrup is made from genetically modified corn and enzymes, and comes with plenty of nutritional pitfalls. Reducing the amount of high fructose corn syrup that your children consume should be a priority.

The key to a healthy Halloween is compromise.

Kids are exposed to so much media hype and so much peer pressure that they can be easily lured into making unhealthy choices when it comes to snacks. Compromise with your kids and allow a small amount of the highly-coveted sugary stuff in exchange for several good choices. By allowing small amounts and monitoring the consumption of sugary snacks carefully, you can help prevent obesity and tooth decay, as well as many other potential unhealthy side effects—while keeping your kids happy.

Parents should be prepared for a possible negative reaction from their kids when they limit the Halloween candy.  Some parents opt to allow small amounts of Halloween candy for the first few days after the holiday and then simply throw out the leftovers. Some parents opt to store some candy in the freezer, so that it can be enjoyed at a later date and spread out over a longer period of time—this helps to avoid the possibility of bingeing right after Halloween.

Offering other types of treats in lieu of Halloween candy is another popular option.

Instead of a bag full of candy, you can put together a basket of fun and active toys, like balls, frisbees or other simple things that encourage kids to be more active. When kids are active and having fun, the loss of Halloween candy is quickly forgotten!

Fortunately, there are plenty of options when it comes to limiting Halloween candy for your kids. While it may seem “unfair” or “mean” to your kids, parents are responsible for helping children learn to make healthy choices.

Rather than pile on the candy, find some fun and healthy Halloween recipes that incorporate fruits and veggies instead of candy—and make them in fun eyeball shapes or design a healthy “graveyard” using hummus, guacamole and plenty of cut up veggies for tombstones. When you can make healthy foods fun, you will find that your children are more likely to choose them.

The long term benefits of limiting excess sugar and additives from the diets of children are countless.

Teach your children about healthy choices at a young age and you can help prevent many of the possible diseases and chronic conditions that could develop later as a result of poor habits.

Here’s a healthy snack recipe for inspiration:

Apple Teeth

Kind of creepy, but very healthy, these treats are sure to get your kids talking. All you need is an apple and a few slivered almonds and you can create your own grotesque teeth too.

Supplies Needed:

  • 1 apple (makes 4 sets of teeth)
  • Sliced almonds

Also, keep on hand a knife and cutting board.

Step 1: Cut and Prepare the Apple

  • Start by slicing the apple in half.
  • Then cut the two pieces in half, creating 4 quarters.
  • Use the knife to remove stems, cores and other desired bits of the apple.
  • Now proceed to slice a wedge out of the front of each piece of apple. This will form the shape of the mouth.

Tip: if you aren’t serving the apples right away, soak the apples in lemon or orange juice to prevent browning.

 Step 2: Add Teeth

  • Now start placing almond slices on the top and bottom of the wedge. There is no right or wrong way to place the almonds as these are meant to be spooky teeth. Just have fun with it!

Repeat the process for all the teeth. Then place on a festive plate and serve.

 

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Ed: Catherine Monkman

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