This year, enjoy all the fun and frights of Halloween without fretting about the consequences of gobs of candy and other sweet treats. Excessive candy consumption can be bad for kid’s teeth and provide them with unneeded calories. As parents, it can be a challenge to make Halloween fun while restricting access to treats. Here are some ideas:
Shift the focus off of candy and onto dressing up and playing games. Host a party with friends or family, featuring costume contests, mummy making (wrapping each other up in toilet paper), bobbing for apples and healthy snacks.
Here are some recipes that make fruits and vegetables dangerously delicious:
- One banana
- Creamy peanut butter
- Pretzel sticks
- Two mini chocolate chips
- A red fruit snack or a piece of red licorice
Slice the banana into 1-2 inch pieces. Spread a layer of peanut butter between each slice of banana. Break the pretzel sticks in half and press into the sides of the banana slices. Place of dollop of peanut butter onto the chocolate chips and stick on the front for the eyes. Dip the licorice or fruit snack in peanut butter and place that on the front of the banana for the tongue.
- Baby carrots
- Sliced toasted almonds
- Cream cheese
Simply paste the almonds on the tip of the carrots with a dab of cream cheese.
Now, dip in your favorite veggie dip and enjoy!
- Slivered almonds
Just quarter and core an apple, cut a wedge from the skin side of each quarter, then press slivered almonds in place for teeth.
Tip: If you’re not going to serve them right away, baste the apples with orange juice to keep them from browning
Transform trick or treating!
Set a good example for children by choosing healthy alternatives to candy for trick or treating. Pass out small packages of nuts or trail mix, granola bars, 100-calorie pack snacks or reduced-sugar hot cocoa packets. Or, forego food altogether and pass out fun things to play with! Glow-in-the dark bouncy balls, stickers, pencils, bracelets, temporary tattoos, and glow sticks make great alternatives to candy.
Worrying about what to do with your kid’s loot? Let them know that they can keep a small amount and a “magic pumpkin” will transform their extra candy into a special prize overnight. Look for local dentists that will buy candy by the pound to get rid of it.
Have a hauntingly healthy Halloween!
~ Jennifer Crouse, RD, CD, CDE, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin