Editor’s note: Last week’s Natural Sweeteners post gave us a list of sugar substitutes to help keep us and our families healthy. But how much control can you have on October 31st? In today’s post Jennifer Kardish suggests a few ways you can keep your kids healthy and happy this Halloween.
The time of year parents anticipate and dread in equal measure is once again upon us. If the ghost of Halloweens past has reared its ugly head in the form of cavities, sugar hangovers and bouts of praying to the porcelain god (for your kids or for yourself), then you may be reticent to go gentle into that good night yet again.
Yet your kids have no doubt become accustomed to the thrill of anonymity, calls of “Trick or treat!” and a night out with their friends, creating calamity up and down the street and gleefully snatching handfuls of candy from accommodating neighbors.
You don’t want to deprive them of the thrills and chills that come just once a year, but the thought of all that refined sugar and milk-fat wreaking havoc on your child’s digestive tract is almost too much to contemplate.
However, there are ways you can keep your kids healthy and still let them have their treats on Halloween. For starters, give them one of many alternative treat options rather than allowing them to guzzle sugar non-stop for twenty-four hours straight.
Don’t feel bad about confiscating their candy bag at the end of the night, they will most likely get plenty of cupcakes, cookies and soda at their classroom party earlier in the day. Comb through it to sift out unacceptable treats and if you can’t find anything worth keeping, then you’re going to have to substitute healthier fare.
Dark chocolate is an excellent replacement for milk chocolate, since it contains less sugar and milk, but most kids don’t have a palette for the bitterness of unsweetened cocoa.
However, they almost all like fruit, so think about throwing in some fruit leather (it’s 100% fruit), Yotta or Odwalla bars (which contain several servings of fruits and vegetables) and even trail mix. Offering your kids sweet and salty alternatives will lessen the sting of lost candy.
If you really don’t want to deal with the situation at all, try calling a neighborhood meeting ahead of time to get everyone on board with handing out healthier treats.
Regardless of startling childhood obesity statistics, some of your neighbors may be disgusted by your butchering of a time-honored tradition. If so, see if they are willing to at least cut back by offering bite-size candy instead of full-size bars, or even better, some of the many 100-calorie options that are now available on the market with less sugar and smaller portions.
Likely, most of the parents are feeling the same way as you, but simply didn’t want to rock the boat. It may take a village, but any movement starts with one person.
Another option is to preempt the whole issue by throwing a Halloween party. You don’t have to let the kids trick-or-treat if you host a costume party for them and all their friends.
This way you have complete control over which snacks are going into the gullet and you can also keep a close eye on them during the spookiest night of the year. Safety and health are two good reasons to keep the kids close to home on Halloween, and you’ll likely win the approval of other parents for your efforts.
About the Author
Jennifer Kardish writes for Air Purifier Guide where you can read about the top 10 sources of indoor air pollution and browse the latest reviews on air purification systems.
I love the idea of hosting a Halloween bash – bobbing for apples, scary movies, the old grapes in spaghetti spoof…! Have you any ideas for healthy Halloween candy alternatives?