Every October 31, kids of all ages flood the streets in the spirit of Halloween looking to get their fill of candy. There is 1.9 billion dollars of candy sold each Halloween, with the most popular being candy corn. With 1 out of 3 children in the U.S. being overweight or obese, it’s become the leading health concern among parents ahead of drug abuse and smoking. We all love a sweet indulgence every now and then, but having too many sweets too often is bad for our health, for our waist lines and for our teeth. So while Halloween is a special day where we can afford to indulge in our guilty pleasures of candy bars and candy corn, it wouldn’t hurt to offer a healthy alternative to trick or treaters knocking at your door. Here are some quick and easy tips to make your Halloween a little bit healthier.
1) Instead of candy, opt for healthier alternatives. You can still offer some delicious treats this year, but instead of sugar laden candy, offer up healthier options like mini popcorn bags (a great source of fiber!), granola bars, trail mix or mini-dark chocolate bars (versus jumbo sized bars, plus dark chocolate has antioxidants).
2) Create a homemade treat.
A festive favorite that doesn’t take much time to make are roasted pumpkin seeds. It’s easy, after you carve your pumpkin into a Jack-o-Lantern, save the seeds and clean them off. Spread the seeds onto a sheet pan and lightly sprinkle with salt. Bake the seeds in the over at 250 degrees, flipping them every 10 minutes until they are golden brown, which will take up to 1.5 hours. The seeds are delicious, simple to make and good for you! Pumpkin seeds are high in fiber and magnesium, so chow down!
3) Hand out non-edible treats. Think crayons, coloring books, cards, bubbles, sidewalk chalk and playdough – anything that will spark kid’s creativity. The best part is they’ll enjoy these things more than a candy bar and will get multiple uses out of them!
4) Eat a nutritious dinner before heading out. To make your Halloween even healthier and to ensure you don’t go into sugar overload after trick or treating, make sure to have a filling and nutritious dinner before you head out. You can even make Halloween dinner a family tradition, making it something that the kids will look forward to year after year. Check out our black dinner party we threw last Halloween for some ideas and inspiration.
5) Walk, don’t drive – it’s half the fun! After dinner, head out together as a family and walk, don’t drive – this will cut down on carbon emissions and will give you some extra exercise. Also, to hold your treats, reuse an old empty pillowcase instead of paper or plastic bags.
The most important thing is of course to have fun but remember that there are always slight modifications you can make for a healthier, greener Halloween.