Halloween – a day that strikes fear in the hearts of both dentists and dietitians. It’s the one day of the year when sweets aren’t just expected – they are practically demanded.
There are ways to celebrate October 31 without the extreme sugar and calorie rush. Norman Regional community dietitian Keri Hale, RD, said it’s simple to have a healthier Halloween.
“The worst is probably just the amount of candy that we choose to consume,” Hale said.
The most frighteningly fatty candy options include Snickers, Kit Kats, Butterfinger, and peanut M&M’s. Better candy choices include gum, Reese’s mini cups, miniature Mr. Goodbars, miniature Hershey’s milk chocolate bars, or York Peppermint Patties.
Remember portion size matters even in candy, so stick to smaller treats such as Jolly Ranchers, regular-sized Tootsie Rolls or small lollipops, Hale said. Rationing the amount of treats you or your children consume is also important.
“I would let children indulge Halloween day then limit the choice to one or two times a day from then on. Put it out of sight so they forget it soon,” Hale said. “Or agree to give away their non-favorite choices to a church, organization or school that could use it.”
Adults and parents should make sure to watch their own candy intake as well.
“I know as a parent I try to eat a lot of candy just so my kids have less options. Not the wisest decision,” Hale said. “Ration your own candy just like you would your child’s.”
Looking to pass out a healthier treat? Mini-boxes of raisins or popcorn are options. And why just pass out candy? Give trick-or-treaters fun items such as pencils, erasers, stickers, bubbles or crayons.
Hale also recommends celebrating not just all the food-aspects of Halloween, but the many other fabulous festivities.
“Try focusing on costumes, haunted houses, pumpkin patches, hay rides, church functions or other events that do not just focus on candy,” Hale said. “Even if now your Halloween only focuses on candy, try to emphasize other Halloween traditions to your children.”
Interested in learning more about how to have a healthier Halloween? The Norman Regional Diabetes Support Group will be hosting a special presentation titled “Trick or Sweet: Alternatives to Halloween Candy” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20 in the Education Center at Norman Regional Hospital, 901 N. Porter.