Halloween and Healthful Snacks?

Try these ideas for healthful Halloween treats!

For some folks, giving out candy on Halloween seems to just feed into the “sugar and more sugar” culture we seem to live in. If you are one of the few, the brave, the “house” that gives out healthy treats, here are some ideas that kids will enjoy and you will feel good about giving out:

  • Single serving packages of nuts or sunflower seeds (ask about allergies first!)
  • 100-calorie whole grain crackers or other 100-calorie snack packs.
  • String Cheese Sticks
  • Granola bars
  • Single serving bags of tortilla chips
  • Single serving 100% juice boxes, chocolate milk boxes, or chocolate soymilk boxes
  • Low fat microwave popcorn packet
  • Single serving dried fruit packet
  • Fruit leather
  • Calcium-fortified hot cocoa packets

Also consider non- food treats such as:

  • “Dollar Store” jump ropes
  • Decorative Stickers
  • Reflective stickers
  • Mini-crayons
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Mini-notepads

No matter what you give out at Halloween, if your child goes trick-or-treating, he or she will come home with a stash of Halloween candy. You can use this as a learning opportunity for your child.

Internationally respected dietitian Ellyn Satter has some great ideas for teaching your child how to work these fun foods into a healthy diet. Let him or her him lay out the night’s booty, gloat over it, sort it and eat as much of it as he or she wants. Same thing the next day. Then ask him or her to put it away and have it only as dessert with meals and for snack-time: a couple of small pieces at meals for dessert and as much as he wants for snack time. No constant eating of candy all night and day.

If the rules are followed, that is, candy at meal time and snack time only, and not grazing on it all day long- he or she gets to keep control of the stash. Otherwise, you control it letting him have the treats only at meal time and snack time.

Satter recommends offering milk with the candy to boost the nutrition of the snack. This kind of structure means that candy won’t spoil a child’s diet or, by depriving him of Halloween treats altogether, lead to hoarding/hiding eating behaviors.  

Halloween is a big holiday with kids—by using these strategies it can also be one that actually teaches them about the healthy way to fit treats into their day.

For more ideas about feeding children, especially picky eaters visit: www.ellynsatter.com.

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Allan Reetz is the Co-op's Director of Public and Government Affairs. Contact Allan at areetz at coopfoodstore dot com.