What’s the one thing you think of when you hear Halloween is coming? You and every child in the neighborhood naturally think of candy, right? It’s all about that loot. And typically, it’s all about the guilt and upset stomachs later. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. This year, let’s think about what we can you do to make this the healthiest Halloween yet for you and your family.
- Eat a healthy dinner. If you’re heading out with the kids for trick or treating fun this year, make sure you all fill up on a healthy dinner first. If you satisfy your appetite before surrounding yourself with Halloween treats, you’ll be less likely to overindulge as the candy mounds up.
- Don’t supersize. Say goodbye to the days of trick-or-treating with a pillowcase. Opt for a smaller-sized treat bag when going house to house. Those who fill a pillow case either still have candy leftover to throw out in March or a parent who finishes it off. Avoid being that parent, and encourage the smaller bag. And encourage your children to only take one piece of candy at each house.
- Focus on movement. Trick-or-treating is a great opportunity to exercise. Lace up your walking shoes and map out a family route. You could set a goal of how many houses you want to visit or stay determined to walk a set distance or number of steps. Focusing on the health benefits of getting out and moving starts children out on a path to health from a young age.
- Drink water. Before you reach for a piece of candy, reach for a glass of water instead. Sometimes water is enough to give you that feeling of fullness and send you on a detour around Candy Lane.
- Set limits. Before you leave the house, tell your children (and yourself!) exactly how many pieces of candy are allowed upon return. Be sure not to let them eat along the way.
- Examine before eating. Check each treat before approving it for eating. Discard any unwrapped or partially unwrapped treat, or anything that appears to have been tampered with.
- Create your own “approved” list. If your children or you have allergies or are following a particular diet, do some research before Halloween. Check online ingredient lists of popular candies, and create a list of approved/safe candy to eat. This will make it easy to say “yay” or “nay” in the midst of the excitement of the evening.
- Hand out health. When preparing for trick-or-treaters at your house, skip the candy this year. Try pretzels, stickers, fruit or glow sticks instead.
- Dole it out. While you encourage your children to only take one piece of candy, you can do the same when handing it out. Even though you don’t want a full bowl of candy, avoid dumping handfuls into the kiddos’ bags.
- Avoid it all. If you don’t want to deal with the frenzy and needed willpower to fight against the temptations, do something positive as a family instead. Dress up together and give out treats at a local nursing home or children’s hospital. You’ll be teaching your children that all holidays are an opportunity to give back, while creating wonderful family memories.
As the holiday season approaches, I can help you create a healthy plan to sail through each one. Contact me today to get started on your personal strategies for wellness.
A nurse for more than 25 years, Karen David is a Certified Wellness Coach and Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist. She brings her passion for well living and calm presence to empower others in health and wellness. Karen is CEO of Live Life Well, LLC.
This article is for informational purposes only. Practices, services or products described are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please speak with a doctor before beginning any new health regimen.