Eat. Play. Love.

Healthy Halloween

  • October 26th, 2011

This is the time of year when folks pick up pounds of candy from Costco, Safeway, Target and other stores in anticipation of eager trick-or-treaters. Unfortunately, many of these yummy candy bars are full of partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors and flavoring. So, what do you do if you want to give the kids a sweet treat, but aren’t comfortable with handing out artificial junk? If you have the time, making little snack packs with home-made trail mix or individually wrapped home-made cookies would be ideal, but many of us are busy can barely make it to the store to pick up something pre-made. So what is a parent to give to his/her costumed visitors that keeps the Halloween spirit alive without the scary ingredients? Well, fortunately there are some healthier alternatives out there that can be purchased at Whole Foods, a local natural foods store or ordered on-line. In the DC metro area, I have found some great treats at My Organic Market. So here are a few recommendations for you to check out:

Annie’s Bunny Fruit Snacks
Bare Fruit Snacks
Endangered Species Organic Bites
Envirokidz Mini Treats Koala Chocolate Rice Crispy Bars
Ms. May’s Naturals Freeze Dried Fruit Chips
Stretch Island Fruit Leathers

You can also give out packets of raisins, trail mix, and none food items such as pencils, stickers, fake bugs and other fun trinkets. I have to admit that I have had mixed reviews with the “healthy” candy that I have given out in the past. I generally do a combination of the fruit leathers, mini-chocolates, mini-rice crispy bars and dried fruit snacks. Kids either love them or are not impressed in the least and feel they have made a wasted trip to the door. I have had kids tell me that I give out the “best treats ever” while others have peered into my candy basket, turned around and muttered, “that wasn’t even worth the walk down the driveway.” I’m hoping that they remember me after they have tasted my healthier treat alternatives and visit again. In fact, I have had several repeat trick-or-treaters over the years who remember me as the “lady with the fruit leather.” We’ll see what happens this coming Monday. I encourage you to experiment with a variety of these products because you may just have given a kid one less fake sugar-laden, rancid fat-filled, artificially colored and flavored “candy bar.”

So, Parents, I’m sure you’re wondering what the heck you do with all that loot that comes home? The most important thing is too not make a big deal about the candy. Allow your child to indulge on candy for a day or two and then you can set some guidelines together. For example, you can tell you child they can only have one piece per day, but they can choose which piece of candy and when they will eat it. You can suggest to them that you donate the leftovers. At some point they will get sick of it – literally and figuratively. Also, if you’re rationing the candy, you might consider following the same guidelines so as not to create confusion or contradictions. Most importantly, be sure to share mindful eating techniques with your kids. Sit down with your child and show them how to savor that sweet treat and enjoy every moment of it. Explore and discuss the taste, shape, texture and smells of the candy. You don’t want your kids to feel any guilt around any type of food, no matter how “junky” it might be. This will go along way in developing healthy relationships around food for your child and even for you!

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