Published on October 29, 2012

A Healthier Halloween: Controlling the Sugar Frenzy

- By Jana Hagen, Diabetes & Nutrition Liaison

Happy Healthy Halloween

Consider eating a healthy meal for dinner before
trick-or-treating. This will leave everyone feeling
satisfied and less likely to overindulge
on candy later that night.

The official night of trick-or-treating for the Ames community is Oct. 31. How many of you are planning on handing out candy to the children who come knocking on your door that night?

We all know Halloween is the beginning of the typical holiday weight gain for many Americans since Thanksgiving follows, then Christmas and the New Year. It’s the start of many family get togethers, parties and celebrations. Rethinking the holidays, beginning with Halloween, can help teach kids and remind adults that moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle.

Obesity is on the rise, especially in our younger generation, where one out of three children and adolescents age two through 19 are now considered overweight or obese. Healthy lifestyle changes such as adding nutritional food to our diets and increasing our activity level are essential.

Instead of handing out only candy on Halloween, think about adding bags of pretzels, sugar-free gum, small boxes of raisins, or non-food treats such as yo-yos, temporary tattoos, stickers, false teeth, pencils, toothbrushes, little bottles of bubbles and small games, like tiny decks of cards.

Trick-or-treating is a great time for families to exercise together as you walk around your neighborhood stopping at various places. Consider eating a healthy meal for dinner that night. This will leave you feeling satisfied and less likely to overindulge on candy later that night.

Parents can keep the candy in a high cupboard so kids have to ask for the candy; thus parents can control kids’ intake. You may also have your children hand in their candy in exchange for money or a toy they really want instead.

Halloween is one of the many holidays and celebrations that tempt us with goodies. Let’s make Halloween the start of many healthy holidays to come.

Have a happy and healthy Halloween!