Can I be honest with y’all for a minute? Halloween isn’t my favorite.
Something about the unnecessary darkness alongside copious amounts of crummy candy and your girl just isn’t here for it. But with all of that said, I do believe it’s possible to be festive and have lots of fun in a healthier way…even on Halloween!
Let’s walk through ten steps that allow you and your loved ones to navigate the Halloween season in a way that’s better for your body, but still very celebratory!
I really don’t love all the candy and creepy. So I make Halloween more so about the fun things fall has to offer.
There are so many great ways to connect with your child that are still festive. Visit a pumpkin patch. Pick out a pumpkin together. Paint it. Carve it. Talk about different costumes and why they’re special to you. Take a walk around the neighborhood and count pumpkins or admire carvings. Rake leaves and build a bonfire. Find a local farm that does hay rides. Skip the haunted house, but visit the corn maze.
There are so many opportunities – big and small – to celebrate fall! Rather than dark and scary, think of all the ways you can make these next few weeks light and joyful.
Game plan with your child on Halloween plans in advance. Get your child’s input if it’s appropriate for his age and maturity. How long will you go trick-or-treating? What can your child consume on Halloween night? How will you deal with the sack full of sugar?
Agree on boundaries around candy and bedtime before the big day. Believe me, this not only makes for a healthier Halloween, but it eliminates the power struggle and meltdowns, too!
High sugar intake can weaken the immune system and promote poor behavior. Leading up to Halloween, and especially for dinner before trick-or-treating, ensure meals are healthy, nutritious and promote blood sugar balance. That means including clean proteins, healthy fats and as many veggies as possible. And definitely don’t let your little ones skip dinner altogether.
A healthier way to trick-or-treat is to walk the neighborhood instead of driving from house to house. Movement is great for the body on so many levels, and walking with your little ones is a fantastic way to facilitate it for both of you!
Dr. Staci Whitman, a functional pediatric dentist, says that sticky and gummy candies can be much harder to clean off teeth. Additionally, sour candies tend to be very acidic, which breaks down the enamel on teeth and makes them more prone to cavities. Whitman encourages choosing chocolate as the best bet for conventional Halloween candy. It washes off your teeth more easily than other sticky and gummy candies.
Did you know that many of the food colorings we commonly use in candies, sports drinks, “treats” and other common foods in the United States are either banned or restricted in places like Europe and Australia? These include, but aren’t limited to, Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Red 40. If I see food coloring on the label, it’s a hard pass “no” for my family.
It’s not always realistic or even best to think we can or should cut something out cold turkey. In those cases, coming up with a healthier swap is the best choice. Halloween is the perfect situation to put this into practice! I want my son to enjoy festivities and a “treat” or two like his classmates and friends, but I don’t want those treats to be laden with chemicals, dyes, high fructose corn syrup and beyond.
Enter, swaps! I swap out the unhealthy conventional candy for better alternatives. Here are the brands I rely on heavily when it comes to alternative options:
Treats don’t have to be candies! Here’s a list of non-candy treat ideas to either pass out or have on hand at home for your own child. I love that they don’t cause a sugar high (and crash), they last more than the thirty seconds it takes to consume a candy, and many of them promote creative play!
So what happens after your child comes home with a sack full of candy? You can toss it, swap it, or limit the amount! Do what feels best for you. It will depend on your child, their age, etc. Here are two ideas:
Finally, I want to leave you with some festive ideas for Halloween snacks and meals. These ideas prove that healthy food and Halloween really can go together!
I hope the ideas get you going in the right direction! Wishing you a HEALTHY and HAPPY Halloween!
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