halloween hacks

Top 5 Healthy Halloween Hacks

by JJ Virgin on October 22, 2016

I love dressing up for Halloween, and I have some great memories of my boys’ costumes over the years.

What I don’t appreciate is that October suddenly means it’s fine to hand out tiny packets of high-fructose corn syrup and artificial colors to children. (Not to mention all the adults who are cleaning up the leftovers…)

Don’t let the store aisles full of mini-candy bars fool you! While trick-or-treating is tons of fun, the sugar-induced mood swings, inflammation, and weight gain certainly aren’t.

The truth hurts: more than 1/3 of American children and teens are obese, double the number who were overweight just 30 years ago.1 As a result, we now have climbing numbers of kids with diseases that used to be reserved for the elderly: heart disease, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, and more.2

Time for a solution! Instead of resigning yourself to candy binges and sugar crashes, try these five healthy Halloween hacks:

1. Skip the candy for non-food options.

While your neighbors hand out sugar bombs, you can offer fun toys, stickers, temporary tattoos, silly noses, vampire teeth, kazoos, and streamers. (Look for toy assortments meant for piñata filler for a fun selection.) Trust me: kids will welcome these alternatives over another bag of stale candy corn!

2. Feed your kids first.

Before you turn them loose to collect their stash, make sure children get a balanced dinner with lean protein, plenty of veggies, and slow-low carbs like beans or quinoa. Bonus points if you give them apple slices with almond butter to satisfy their sweet tooth before they head out. That way, the candy is more likely to make it home in the plastic jack-o’-lantern instead of in their tummies!

3. Follow my three-bite rule.

Headed to a Halloween party? No need to insult your host by refusing a piece of the painstakingly decorated graveyard cake. But you don’t have to finish a giant slice either – sample three polite bites, and put your fork down. You can use this same rule with your kids: three bites and step away from the candy bag.

4. Freeze the enemy.

Ever tried to scarf down a frozen candy bar? Not so easy! If you don’t break a tooth, the brain freeze will get you for sure. If high-sugar impact treats are tempting you from the kitchen table, put them in the freezer. You won’t see or smell a candy bar from there, and you’ll have to wait long enough before you dive in that impulse eating is much less likely.

5. Go dark.

No, you don’t have to turn off the porch light – just choose dark chocolate squares over sugary, highly processed milk chocolate treats. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants with a host of health benefits, including better brain function and a healthier heart. (To find out all the ways dark chocolate is a treat, read this article.)

With the right choices, you can have a Halloween that’s low in sugar and still tons of fun. Wishing you and yours a safe, happy October 31st!

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Article Sources:
1 http://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/obesity/facts.htm
2 http://stateofobesity.org/rates/