Healthy Halloween Tricks & Tips

(As featured in The Telegram on Monday, October 31st 2011)

Halloween is certainly a fun time for both kids and adults alike. We get to dress up in fun costumes,
go to parties, and of course for kids trick or treat! With all that fun it can also be a time where we get
carried away. The amount of candy and sweets collected and thought of trying to have a moderate
sweet intake with such large amounts of sweets in our homes is enough to make even the most diet
conscious frustrated and overwhelmed. Aside from being the food police (with or without costume!)
there are tricks caregivers can try to ensure kids have a healthy and still happy Halloween with treats.

Trick #1. Set your expectations before trick or treating this evening. Determine a reasonable amount
of days to enjoy the treats (probably not until all the treats are gone, as kids are likely to get a lot!)
It's good to talk to kids and explain how it's fun to go trick or treating, and how treats can be part of a
healthful diet, but in small doses. Help your kids see the benefits of how making Halloween treats last
longer is a good thing. It helps to control the amount eaten, and more importantly establish healthy
eating habits for when they become adults.

Trick #2. Having supper before going out, or even a snack, should supper have been early, is a very
good idea. This way tummies will be full and kids will be less tempted to reach into their pumpkins
before getting home.

Trick #3. Trick or treat at homes you know. This helps to ensure treat safety, limit the amount of
food collected and increase possibility of getting healthy items. Thing like popped popcorn, apples
and homemade goodies can be kept from homes you know and are obviously healthier variations of
Halloween treats.

Trick #4. When home enjoying treats provide them with a glass of milk or water. Not only will kids
fill up quickly, but they will get extra fluids and in the case of milk, calcium and vitamin D.

Trick #5. Be a good role model. Practice healthy eating yourself. Kids mimic your behaviour and
attitudes. Practice skills of moderation around kids and store treats in the kitchen (not bedroom) to set
good examples.

Trick #6. Get your child to choose which candies or treats they would like to have in the next few
days. Have them place these into small baggies for each day. This empowers kids with decision
making and ownership, but also teaches portion control and moderation skills. It's also a good idea to
set your own expiration date for the candy. Pick a date of no more than two weeks away. Any treats
not eaten after this date can be used for other purposes.

But what to do with all that excess candy? Against putting it in the garbage or bringing it to the staff
lunch room? Instead of wasting it completely or increasing the waistlines of your fellow co-workers,
here are some suggestions . Try using small pieces of crushed treats or candy on a peeled banana,
insert a wooden stick and freeze. This makes yummy banana pops. A snack kids will enjoy and
obviously served up in a healthier way. Use small pieces like M&M's and Reese's Pieces together
with healthy food tidbits such as dried fruit, pretzels, and popcorn to make a trail mix snack. This is
a great shelf stable snack that can be stored in large containers and then portioned out. Rather not eat
the treats? Use it at Christmas for a gingerbread house, or bring to daycare or school to use in arts and

Don't let Halloween haunt you. It should be fun for both kids and parents alike. Treats can certainly be
a part of a healthy eating plan as long as you practice moderation and portion control.