Healthy Eating at Halloween

Halloween can wreak havoc with your weight, blood sugar levels and dental health. Here are my Top10 Tips for healthy eating at Halloween.

  1. Instead of candy, buy Halloween toys for treats. Small, inexpensive toys like Halloween pencils, mini balls, stickers, vampire teeth, spider rings and other fun novelties are great fun for kids. Halloween toys can cost as little as 5 or 10 cents each, so you don't need to spend more money than you do on candy. Toys won't tempt you to break your diet; don't contain food allergens like some candies; and extras can be stored for next year.

  2. Do not buy candy early in the month. The more time candy is sitting in your cupboard, the more willpower you will need to have. Too many people buy candy early, only to discover most of it has been eaten before the trick or treaters come around.

  3. Buy brands of candy you do NOT like. Every one has different tastes, and the trick or treaters may love a type of candy you do not like. You face less temptation this way.

  4. Do not let your kids skip dinner before they go out trick or treating. They will eat more candy and junk to fill up and will be lacking the protein necessary in their diet.

  5. Limit trick or treating time. The more time trick or treating = the more houses = the more candy = the more total calories and sugar your child (family) will consume.

  6. After you have checked through the candy to make sure it is safe, let your child pick out 3 or 4 pieces to eat. Throw out any candy that looks questionable. Store the rest of the collected candy in a container and put it on a high shelf. Let your child have 1 or 2 pieces a day until the candy is gone.

  7. Take some of the candy, like Smarties or M & M's, and store them separately for baking use. Next time your child has a birthday, or needs to make cupcakes for school, you can use these colourful candies for decorations.

  8. Not all of the candy has to be eaten. Throw some out as the weeks go by and the child is less focused on the treats from Halloween.

  9. Make sure your child balances candy with proper food. Provide a healthy snack like fruit, yogurt, crackers and cheese, etc. when your child comes home hungry. They will be less likely to binge on candy if they are not starving.

  10. There are fun and healthy foods that are associated with Halloween. Pull out and roast the seeds from the pumpkins when you are carving them. Take advantage of the apples, squash, tomatoes and vegetables in season. Turn the focus from candy to the wonderful harvest foods that are available this time of year.

Changing focus from candy to activities, crafts and games, will help your child associate Halloween with more than just collecting sweets.  Setting a good example and learning nutrition facts can help you ensure that halloween is not so scary for your family's health.