KUSA - Halloween is a time filled with candy and treats but if this becomes the norm, it can lead to some scary health problems in the long run.
To ensure that your child stays healthy this Halloween and still has a fun time, Dr. Michelle Cardel, a nutrition scientist and registered dietitian at the Anschutz Health and Wellness center, has come in to give us a few tips.
1. Don't let your kids go trick-or-treating on an empty stomach - It is important to make sure your child doesn't go out hungry when they trick-or-treat. Provide a warm, nutritious meal filled with fiber, protein, fruits, and vegetables to help them avoid snacking on treats along the way. This could also help decrease the amount of candy they eat when returning home.
2. Instead of giving out candy try giving out toys - You can help make your neighborhood a healthier place by giving out fun things other than candy to trick-or-treaters. In one study children were given the choice between candies or a small toy while trick-or-treating. Nearly half the time the children choose the toy, suggesting that children would be satisfied with receiving the toy instead of candy. Some inexpensive toy ideas include large glow-in-the-dark insects, Halloween theme stickers, Halloween pencils, bubbles, glow sticks, or bouncy balls. Kids love these and they can help cut back on calories in a candy bag. If you do buy treats, get the mini sized bars and choose items lower in calories, fat, and sugar, such as Starburst, York Peppermints, mints, and dark chocolates.
3. Get some physical activity on Halloween by walking instead of driving - Burn off some of those candy calories. Walk together as a family trick-or-treating instead of driving. You can add reflective tape to costumes to ensure that your child is seen by drivers.
4. Keep candy consumption to a minimum - You can minimize the amount of candy your child gets by limiting the time or number of houses you visit. Be sure to also use a smaller bag, about the size of a grocery bag, to limit the amount of candy your child gets (one way to ensure this is to make your child carry their own bag). Tell the children they have to wait until you get home to eat candy. Once you get home check the safety of the candy by making sure it is commercially packaged and that the packaging is not tampered with. Take an inventory of your child's candy and allow them only certain amounts each day to teach them the value of moderation and to help it last longer. Keep in mind that one of the leading causes of tooth decay is sugary candies, so be sure that your kid is brushing and flossing their teeth after they eat their candy.
Don't be tricked into all the unhealthy treats that have typically consumed this holiday. As you take your children trick-or-treating or give out treats to those that come to your door, use these ideas to stay healthy and still have fun.
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