,Finding healthy Halloween treats your kids will love may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Essentially, being mindful this holiday season will help you find more nutritious treats that your kids will also love.
Not All Treats are Bad
First things first, remember - bad is a relative term and not all treats are “bad.” In one respect, Halloween treats are good because they contain calories and we all need calories to live! But on the other hand, of course, as a nation we consume way too much sugar and too many empty calories.
Try to Steer Clear of Pure Sugar Treats
Candy and sweet treats not only encourage cavities, but also prevent kids from eating the healthy stuff. Consuming sweets too often also contributes to unhealthy eating habits and over time can add extra, unwanted pounds. So, when deciphering what treats children should consume, look for treats that incorporate some fruit and nuts. Fruit incorporated in treats still contain small amounts of healthy vitamins and minerals, and nuts will add some healthy fats while slowing down the glycemic response of treats. Bottom line: try to steer clear of pure sugar treats and if you do so, do so infrequently – think once or twice a year not daily or weekly.
Added Sugars and Daily Recommended Intake
You might be surprised to learn that added sugars hide in many of our foods from granola bars to condiments and everything in between. Because sweet treats aren’t the only source of sugar in the diet, Americans already consume more sugar than what they think they do. The American Heart Association recommends limiting sugar intake to no more than half of your daily discretionary calorie allowance: no more than 100 calories per day for women (about 6 teaspoons) and no more than 150 calories per day for men (9 teaspoons). That equates to about 5 Hersey kisses per day.
Healthy Halloween Treat Ideas
Here are a few of my favorite “healthier treats” to enjoy and give away - Animal crackers, cheese crackers and graham crackers, 100 calorie packs of various products (i.e., pretzels, trail mix, nuts, seeds and dried fruit), Single-serve boxes of ready-to-eat cereal and popcorn, Raisins and chocolate covered raisins, Fig and fruit cookies; Cereal bars, Mini boxes of raisins, Individual juice drinks (100% juice), Snack-size pudding and applesauce
Non-Food Items to Giveaway for Halloween
Here are my favorite non-food items to giveaway - Stickers or temporary tattoos, Yo-yos, bubbles or glow sticks, Bracelets or slap wristbands, Pencils, erasers, crayons, markers or bookmarks, Plastic spider rings, false teeth or funny glasses, Bouncy balls, jump ropes, chalk and balloons
With all the doom and gloom surrounding sugar these days, you might think you need to skip the holiday altogether! But that doesn’t have to be the case. A treat or two every so often is fine. And families should find ways to make it more balanced -- to bring a few fun and healthy Halloween treats and tricks to the party.