The natural health researchers at Institute for Vibrant Living have prepared the following handy tips for a safe and nutritious Halloween:
Ghosts, goblins and ghouls are not half as scary as the nutritional nightmares our children face on a candy-centered holiday like Halloween.
With childhood obesity at epidemic levels in this country, parents are understandably concerned about limiting the amount of sugar and empty calories in their children’s diets.
First lady Michelle Obama apparently agrees with that premise, as she has taken center stage in America’s ongoing battle against childhood and teen obesity.
Recent surveys have revealed that one in five children in this country are overweight, putting them at an increased risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and other serious health problems early in life.
However, Halloween does not necessarily have to wreak havoc with good eating habits.
There are many delicious and fun treats that you can purchase (or better yet, make at home) that will be a big hit with little ghosts and goblins this season!
Here are some handy nutritional hints:
- After you carve out the Jack-O-Lantern, remember that Pumpkin is a very healthy natural food that can be used for baking muffins, cakes and of course, pumpkin pie. You can also dry and toast the seeds for dad, since they have been shown to be beneficial for prostate health. (It’s still a month before Thanksgiving, so you won’t wear out the welcome for pumpkin’s edible treats.)
- Small bags of pretzels, popcorn, pumpkin seeds and trail mix are great substitutes for candy. Dried fruit, juice boxes, sugarless gum and pre-packed cheese and crackers are also good choices. (If you decide to give juice boxes, be sure to purchase all natural juices that don’t have added sugar.)
- Another excellent way to delight kids is to offer non-food items, such as spooky stickers, colorful pencils and erasers, novelty toothbrushes, crayons, coloring books or small inexpensive story books as your treat.
- If you are having a party at your home, prepare foods that are festive, colorful and nutritious. (Be sure the party also includes active games that will help children get the 60 minutes of exercise that they need to get each day.)
- Serve the ‘trick or treating’ gang a healthy meal before leaving your house and take along some pretzels and fruit in case they get hungry before returning home.
Here are some important safety tips to observe for the All Hallows Eve (Halloween) nightfest:
- Children should wear brightly colored costumes and carry flashlights so that they are easily seen by motorists.
- Make sure costumes aren’t a tripping hazard. (Statistics show that falls are among the most common Halloween-related injuries.)
- Avoid costumes that are too long or that limit visibility, as many masks do.
- Develop a costume theme that incorporates face painting instead of risky masks.
- Avoid oversized, floppy shoes (even if they’re in fashion at school) and make sure that sidewalks and stairs are well lit and free of obstacles that could result in falls.
- Make sure your child understands that candy wrappers and lollipop sticks can be hazardous if swallowed.
- Consider keeping your pet in a separate room away from the fracas. (Do the kids know chocolate can sicken or even be poisonous for some types of pets? Keep the sweets away from the pets!)
Once home, go through your child’s “loot” to look for any suspicious items (such as razor blades cleverly hidden in apples) and report them promptly to the authorities if found.
Then work out a “deal” (on your terms) with your child to ration the candy. Discuss the high cost of dental care and put a definite number on what constitutes a reasonable amount of treats to consume over a given period of time, with a mandatory (trust, but verify) tooth brushing required after consumption.
While Halloween can be great fun for kids and adults alike, it can also be fraught with numerous hazards and hidden dangers for all concerned.
It can also be very terrifying for animals, so be extra considerate of dogs and pets that can easily be spooked.
So, hopefully you’ve picked up something from this article that will help you and yours to have a happy, nutritious (as possible) as well as a safe Halloween celebration!