There's lots of good news on this front. You can enjoy Halloween and promote healthy eating choices for yourself, your family and all of the wee-ones in your neighborhood. Today, the internet is stocked full of Healthy Halloween articles featuring ideas, recipes and strategies to help you through the weekend. Here are a few of my favorite tips, recipes, articles:
- Substitute – Instead of providing sweets for trick-or-treaters, offer inexpensive toys, glow sticks, small change, stickers or temporary tattoos.
- Healthy Carbs – If you must give sweets, try fresh fruit like apples or oranges, small packets of dried fruit or nuts, individual packets of trail mix or granola, or the ever-popular popcorn balls. (Some parents wont allow their children to eat homemade treats, so there are best for close friends and neighbors.)
- Sweeten Naturally – Try your favorite sweets recipe with low-glycemic natural sweeteners like agave, stevia or xylitol. But be careful, some of these taste sweeter than sugar. Here's a handy conversion chart for agave and one for stevia.
- Be Proactive – Make sure they have a healthy dinner before trick-or-treating, a large breakfast before school and have plenty of healthy options in their lunches. (Remember, its the week after Halloween when the most candy is available.)
- Make Candy Agreements – Be clear about how much candy is allowed on Halloween and the days that follow and stick to it! Also, make receipt of that "candy allowance" contingent upon making other healthy eating choices, such as eating full servings of vegetables during regular meals or accompanying the candy with a full glass of milk or water.
- Creativity Over Consumption – Halloween is such a creative time! Designing and crafting house decorations, costumes, snacks, and non-food treats are great ways to engage your teens and kids for hours. Once the holiday is over, get started on Thanksgiving decorations and menus. Its only four weeks away!
- A super fun list of Healthy Halloween Treats from Disney's Family Fun website
- Basic Popcorn Balls from iFood.tv (Spice these up by adding small amounts of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, pumpkin or other seeds, nuts, dried fruit bits)
- How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds from About.com: Parenting Teens
- Raw Food Halloween Round-Up – selections from Raw Food Nation for our raw food enthusiasts
- And lets not forget that pumpkins and other Fall vegetables make wonderful ingredients for healthy meals. Check out these Fall recipe ideas from Cooking Light and Epicurious.
- Healthy Halloween Advice from Dr. Weil
- Treats Kids Will Love from iVillage
- Healthy Halloween Hints from Kids Health
- Healthy Halloween Treats from Clemson University (dig down towards the middle of the page for some great lists!)
Now its your turn. What are your favorite articles, recipes and tips? How did your healthy Halloween go? Share with us below using the comment field.
Anastasia King Jaress is the director of New Media for the Alma J Cameron Foundation (AJCF). She is also an award-winning content producer and the founder of Root Media, an innovative digital media production firm providing communications tools for cause-driven organizations.