While not everyone celebrates Halloween, many parents might be wondering how to let their children take part while reducing the intake of those alluring sugary sweets. Thankfully, there are plenty of tips to help you and your kids make it a healthy holiday, both during Halloween and throughout the winter season!

 Q: Halloween is my kids’ favorite holiday. Unfortunately, they usually eat too much candy, are wired for hours, and wake up with tummy aches (and probably cavities). How can I make this a more enjoyable holiday for all of us?

A: Masha Fox-Rabinovich, MA, RD, LDN, CDE, outpatient dietitian at Washington Adventist Hospital answers:

Masha Fox Rabinovich

Masha Fox Rabinovich

The most important thing is to talk with your children and agree on a plan before Halloween night:

  1. Make sure to eat dinner before going trick-or-treating. This helps prevent snacking while out collecting candy.
  2. Use a small basket for trick-or-treating. No large containers or pillow cases!
  3. Determine how long you will be out trick-or-treating. Limit it to no more than one hour, or until the small basket is full. Use the rest of the evening to watch a movie or read a book together.
  4. Set a goal for how many pieces of candy to eat on Halloween night, and for how you will portion the rest of it. Plan to have two or three pieces after trick-or-treating, and then one or two a day afterwards.
  5. When sorting through the candy, encourage children to make a pile of “not favorites.” Gather these candies into a separate bag and place in an inconvenient-to-reach place. You can then give it away or dispose of it in a week or so.

Focus on elements of Halloween that don’t involve candy:

  1. Be creative with costumes. Even if you have a store-bought costume, take time to add some personal touches to make it your own!
  2. Decorate your home.
  3. Carve or paint pumpkins, and roast the seeds. These make an excellent snack!
  4. Prepare Halloween-themed foods that aren’t sweets.
  5. Visit a haunted forest or corn maze.
  6. Parents should also be careful not to be tempted to finish their children’s candy. Keep healthy snacks handy and make to exercise to offset the sweets.

Looking for more healthy holiday eating tips? Stop by our FREE health chat featuring Masha Fox-Rabinovich on Tuesday, Nov. 19 from 8-9:30 at the Adventist HealthCare Walking Club at Westfield Montgomery Mall, First Floor outside of Aroma.  We hope to see you there!