As a nutritionist, I have to admit that Halloween spooks me. While I love seeing children dressed up in cute costumes, the candy part is scary!
Especially this year with Covid-19. That’s because consuming too much sugar can lower immunity, making children (and adults!) more susceptible to infections. And essential nutrients are missing from sugary foods, filling kids up without providing any of the vitamins and minerals needed to ward off inflammation, diabetes and other chronic diseases (according to the CDC, having type 2 diabetes increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19).
This doesn’t mean your children can’t enjoy a little candy on Halloween – heck, my daughters eat candy on occasion. The key is to keep it to a minimum and make sure they are eating a nutrient-dense diet to offset the sugar craze.
Here are some healthy tips approved by the American Heart Association for taking the terror out of this Halloween:
- Give them a healthy meal before trick-or-treating
- Get kids moving on Halloween! Physical activity boosts immune function
- Google “healthy Halloween theme snacks” and serve those at home
- Ditch sugary drinks! They are a scary source of hidden sugar. Offer flavored sparking water or warm seasonal herbal teas
- Be that house (I am LOL)… offer healthier treats or non-edible items. Try snack-sized bags of popcorn, dried fruit (no sugar added), trail mix, 100% real fruit strips, squeezable applesauce pouches, single-serving containers of mandarin oranges or sugar-free gum. You can use your imagination for non-edible items
- Let your kiddos keep enough candy to have one or two pieces a day for a few weeks (until the excitement wears off) then donate the rest
I hope this post helps you enjoy a fear-less Halloween this year. Hang in there, it’s almost #2021!