Healthy Halloween – Some healthy alternatives to the usual sugary fare
Costumes, carving pumpkins, cider mills, pumpkin dishes and … candy! The aromas of the fall season fill the crisp air as kids run in their costumes with bags full of candy. Should you be worried about Halloween as far as your health is concerned? If you stay educated on the dangers of this holiday, you won’t get spooked! Join the 85 percent of parents who say they have a plan in place to ensure your kids exercise moderation on this fun-filled night!
Halloween often poses problems for kids with food allergies. To avoid scary allergic reactions, Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) provides a way to keep your little ghosts and witches safe. The Teal Pumpkin Project from FARE encourages families to raise the awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season, regardless of their medical needs. To participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, take note of these important steps:
- Provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters .
- Place a teal pumpkin in front of your home to indicate you have non-food treats available.
- Display a free printable sign or premium poster from FARE to explain the meaning of your teal pumpkin.
Tips for A Healthy Halloween
According to the National Confectioners Association, more than 75 percent of American households will pass out candy this year and 77 percent of Americans are likely to buy candy. Not only are households flooded with candy full of sugar, but also harmful artificial ingredients such as colors, dyes and sweeteners. Consider these tips to ensure a safe and healthy Halloween with your friends, family and community.
• Check your candy wrappers for any rips or tears in the packaging. Hold on to your chocolate craving for just a minute longer to look at the packaging on your candy. When in doubt, throw it out!
- Make your house an entertaining pit stop for Halloween-inspired games. Stock your house with supplies for pumpkin carving, decorating and bobbing for apples as a healthy treat.
- Skip the sugar altogether and hand out creative toys such as fidget spinners, squishees, coloring books and yo-yos.
- Exercise portion control by putting 2-3 items (about 100-150 calories) in plastic baggies or containers, and limiting to one baggie per day.
- Donating your candy is an excellent alternative to overindulging, consuming excess calories and food waste.Yad Ezra is a Jewish Michigan-based kosher food pantry that accepts Halloween donations. This is a great opportunity to help others around the holidays and teach your children about tzedakah. Yad Ezra will send the non-kosher candy to another local Detroit food pantry.
- Be sure to fill your little goblin’s tummy with a healthy meal at least one hour prior to trick or treating. Aim to include a lean protein, healthy carbohydrate and healthy fat to give them fuel for a long night of fun on a full stomach. Get spooky with a black bean pasta with grilled chicken and roasted orange peppers!
- Bean chips make a great Halloween party snack or an even better Halloween treat alternative. Make nutrient-dense, allergen-friendly nachos for your Halloween party with high-fiber, bean-based chips, melted cheese (can use a vegan or nondairy alternative), chopped tomatoes, chives and peppers.
- No Whey candies are a delicious alternative to traditional milk chocolate candies. These nut-free, kosher, vegan and naturally colored chocolate candies are perfect for lactose-intolerant trick-or-treaters.
- Looking for something sweet to add to your Halloween candy bowl? Opt for allergen-friendly Surf Sweets gummy candy or jelly beans with organic fruit juice, sweeteners and 100 percent of vitamin C. These little bears will be a festive addition to your trick-or-treater bags!
- No need to worry about peanut or tree-nut allergies with Nutritional Choices Original Whole Grain Animal Crackers. These delightful crackers contain 3 grams of dietary fiber, zero grams of trans fat, no added preservatives and no high-fructose corn syrup, but your kids will never know the difference!
Stacy Goldberg is a nationally recognized nutritional consultant, registered nurse and the CEO of Savorfull (savorfull.com), a Detroit-based company that sources healthy, allergen-friendly foods and provides nutrition-consulting. Savorfull is part of the Quicken Loans Family of Companies.
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