EDITOR's NOTE: Dr. Michelle Cardel, PhD, RD is the Gainesville Lunch Out Blog's resident expert on all important food information that is healthy, smart, and good for your body, mind, stomach and waistline. Dr. MC shares smart food advice with GLOBers on a regular basis and looks forward to answering, discussing any food questions you might have.
Halloween treats can result in 'scary' health issues
BOO! Halloween is a time filled with candy and treats. This is fine for a day or two but candy galore can lead to some "scary" health problems in the long run. Ensure that kids stay healthy this Halloween and still have fun by following these tips:
Avoid The Hunger Game
A warm, nutritious meal filled with fiber, protein, fruits, and vegetables before heading out to Trick-or-Treat will help kids avoid snacking on treats along the way. This could also help decrease the amount of candy kids eat when returning home.
Toys v. Sweets
Help make your neighborhood a healthier place by giving out fun things other than candy to trick-or-treaters. In a research study, children were given a choice between candies or a small toy. Nearly half the time the children chose the toy. Some inexpensive toy ideas include large, glow-in-the-dark insects, Halloween stickers, Halloween pencils, bubbles, glow sticks, or bouncy balls. Kids love these toys, and they can help cut back on Halloween calories. If you do buy treats, get the mini size and choose treats lower in calories, fat, and sugar, such as peppermint patties or dark chocolates.
The Walking Dead Beats Driving
Get some physical activity on Halloween and burn off some of those candy calories ahead of time: Trick-or-treat as a family on foot. To ensure kids are seen by drivers, add reflective tape to costumes.
Mini Me Trick
Limit the amount of candy kids get by limiting the time for trick-or-treating and the number of houses you visit. One way to do this is to limit the size of the trick-or-treat bag--make it about the size of a grocery bagâ€“ and have kids carry it. As soon as kids tire of carrying the bag, head home.
Wait for It...
Tell kids they have to wait until they get home to eat the treats. At home, the safety of the candy should be checked: Make sure it is commercially packaged and the packaging has not been tampered with. Take an inventory of the candy and allow only a certain amount each day. This teaches kids the value of moderation and how to make good things last longer.
Don't be "tricked" into an unhealthy Halloween. Stay healthy and still have fun!
EDITOR's NOTE: Michelle Cardel, PhD, RD, is an obesity and nutrition scientist and registered dietitian at the University of Floridaâ€™s Department of Health Outcomes and Policy in the College of Medicine.