October 20, 2014
We are nearing the end of October, which can only mean Halloween is right around the corner. It is an exciting time for children to dress up in costume and to bring home a bag full of treats after trick-or-treating. Many recreation departments also hold various festivals and community events that may have some sweet treats as giveaways. We all know children receive their fair share of candy during this festive time, so it is important to plan what you can do to help assure healthy eating habits are maintained with your family and in the community. I will be sharing some alternative and healthier ideas that you can incorporate in both your programs and at home, help everyone enjoy Halloween without overindulging.
What will you hand-out during your event or at home for trick-or-treaters? Focusing on making Halloween healthier helps include children and adults with diabetes and other health-related restrictions. There are plenty of treat options that are lower in fat and sugar, and may provide vitamins, minerals and fiber. Some healthier treats include: wrapped fruits and vegetables, cereal bars, animal crackers, gold fish, cracker jacks, applesauce, trail mix, chocolate covered raisins or individual juice boxes. (Please note that nut allergies are more common, so choose treats wisely!)
A 100 Days of Real Food discusses alternative ideas of purchasing festive toys to pass out rather than candy. Some toy ideas include: Glow sticks, Witch Fingers, Skeleton Paratroopers, bouncy balls, Halloween pens, stickers, or themed jokes and trivia, all non-expensive items that can be found at a Party City, Target or online.
Lastly, Healthy Halloween Treats by Clemson Cooperative Extension, suggests establishing a plan for the night of Halloween. First idea is to not send your children trick-or-treating on an empty stomach. Preparing a healthy dinner will limit their snacking during the evening. Trick-or-treat bags should also be an appropriate size depending on the age of the child. Limiting the amount of candy that they can fit into a plastic bag or smaller pillowcase will ultimately decrease their candy intake. Lastly, limit the houses your children or group can visit, this will result in receiving a moderate amount of treats.
There are plenty of options to create a healthier Halloween for your children and the community. It is important to lead by example to convey the message that Halloween can be both healthy but full of excitement and treats. Teaching the importance of making smart life choices is a day-to-day process and should never be put on-hold. Refer to our Healthy Snack Guidelines for other ideas on implementing healthy snacks and standard guidelines during the next couple weeks before Halloween.
If you have any ideas or planned projects for Halloween festivities please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (firstname.lastname@example.org,http://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub)
Graduate Assistant,NC Recreation & Park Association
883 Washington St, Raleigh, NC27605