A healthy Halloween is not an oxymoron. With careful planning, it can be fun without being decadent. Although this may be challenging, here are a few tips to help make the healthy choice the easier choice.
• Serve a healthy meal before trick-or-treating. This reduces the urge to snack.
• Use reasonably sized trick-or-treat bags--not shopping or garbage bags.
• Limit where your children will visit to a few neighbors’ homes or stores. They’ll receive more manageable amounts of treats.
• Wait until you’re back at home before eating anything so you can inspect treats. Only keep what is commercially individually wrapped with no signs of tampering.
• Give your trick-or-treaters non-candy alternatives.
At home you’ll have an opportunity to teach children about eating in moderation. Help them include their treats into a healthy eating plan, set limits on when and how much candy to eat, and stick to it. Disguise this exercise as a game. Avoid forbidding candy because this may contribute to patterns of hoarding and obsession later. Instead lead by example. Sweets can fit into their diet in limited amounts or as part of a meal. For example, have a miniature candy bar with fruit at snack time. If you think they have received too much candy, arrange a buyout. Pay for each treat or trade sweets for non-candy items. This may be especially appealing to children with diabetes. While they can have a moderate amount of sweets, suggest they keep a few of their favorite treats and trade in the rest.
Because sugary treats contribute to tooth decay, candy does more to damage teeth than the diet. Brushing and flossing are essential after eating sweet or sticky foods. However, avoid nagging, badgering or shaming children into healthy habits. Your festive attitude and consistent wise choices will be most effective during your family’s journey toward a healthier lifestyle.
Nozella Brown is a Family and Consumer Sciences educator for Kansas State Research and Extension, Wyandotte County. Adapted from “Healthy Halloween Treats,” a publication of Clemson Cooperative Extension. Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KSREWyco and Follow her on Twitter @WyCoSnapEd.
Chewy Popcorn Balls
Makes: 6 popcorn balls
3 Tablespoons margarine
3 cups mini-marshmallows
1-2 drops food coloring (optional)
8 cups popped popcorn
Wash hands and clean surfaces. In medium bowl, microwave margarine and marshmallows on medium two minutes or until margarine is melted and marshmallows are soft. Remove from microwave and stir to combine ingredients. Add food coloring, if desired. Measure popped popcorn into a large mixing bowl and pour in marshmallow mixture. Stir to coat popcorn. Tear off six 10x10 sheets of wax paper, each. Place one cup of popcorn mixture in center of wax paper square. Fold paper up around popcorn and twist top, pressing popcorn to make a ball. Repeat for each square. Store in airtight container.
Nutritional information for each serving: 200 calories, 10g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 29g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 14g sugars, 140mg sodium, 2g protein, 6% Vitamin A, 0% Vitamin C, 0% calcium, 2% iron.