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By Lisha Andrew

halloweenhealthytreatHalloween is a fun time for families with children of all ages. It’s a day filled with celebration, superstition and, of course, candy—lots of candy. But don’t worry! Here are a few tips to enjoy the holiday without getting sugar overload.

Watch what you buy.  Chances are, your little ones will be sure to come back from trick or treating with plenty of candy.  So it’s a good idea not to buy too much candy to give out to children to begin with.  Otherwise, you may find yourself left with too much candy if you get fewer ghosts and goblins than expected!  Better yet, do your neighbors a favor and buy non-candy items, like fun pencils, stickers, or mini bags of pretzels.

Moderation is key! A little treat goes a long way. You might think about spacing out the Halloween candy and allowing your child to have just a few small pieces each day. Or, you might let them pick their favorites a few days in a row and then cut back.

Have you heard of the saying out of sight, out of mind? Put that candy bowl away and eventually your children may forget it’s even there. When the kids are ready for a treat, serve each child to prevent them from eating too much.

Find a healthy balance. Don’t allow your children to fill up on candy every day. Remember, daily meals and snacks provide key nutrients to keep them healthy and growing. Candy should not replace healthier snacks. Serve healthy snacks first then candy as a treat.

Choose fun-size. When you do allow your kids to have candy, practice portion control. Serve a smaller portion to limit the amount of calories, fat and sugar. Your child still gets their treat and you feel good. It’s a win-win!

A word about choking hazards.  Remember that many candies can be choking hazards for children under the age of 4. These include smaller pieces of candy—including fun-sized ones—along with nuts, raisins, popcorn, chewing gum and marshmallows.

Get Moving! Physical activity is also a part of a healthy lifestyle. Encourage your children to be active every day to burn off the extra calories they may get from sugary treats.

Make your own healthier treats. While it’s okay to have candy once in a while, it is high in sugar and provides very little nutrition.  Instead, try making a healthier treat or put some holiday spirit in to meals and snacks.  Here are some creative ideas using whole grains, cheese and veggies!

Bottom Line: Practicing healthy eating habits is important for your child’s health. Use the tips above to teach your kids how to find a healthier way of enjoying Halloween. Have a happy and healthy holiday!

Lisha Andrew is a dietetic intern with Wellness Workdays

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Nutrition Education Specialist for the Massachusetts WIC Program

Nutrition Education Specialist for the Massachusetts WIC Program

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