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For some kids, Halloween is all about the candy...and eating as much of it as possible. Help keep your kids from consuming too many sugary treats with the following tips. By instilling the habits of nutritious eating young, you ensure everyone has a healthy and fun Halloween for years to come.
For parents, Halloween offers a wonderful opportunity to moderate kids' sweet indulgences with messages about nutrition and exercise. Here are a few suggestions to help parents strike a balance between holiday fun and healthy activity:
New "Trick or Treating" Traditions
- Eat before treat. Serve a healthy and nutritious dinner before your children set out for a night of candy-collecting. Your kids will be happier, and it will help reduce the temptation to devour candy at each "trick or treat" stop. During the meal, take the opportunity to discuss "trick or treat" safety, as well as the importance of healthy diet and lifestyle choices.
- Sort and save. Allow your kids to enjoy some of their Halloween bounty. Then work with them to portion out two or three treats in small bags. Create a weeks-worth of bags to accompany nutritious school lunches or to serve as after-school snacks. Repeat the ritual over the weekend for the following week.
Sweet Snack Alternatives
- Mix things up. To give candy a healthy punch, consider making your own trail mix. Combine raisins, peanuts and even cereal with your child's favorite candy or chocolate treat.
- Practical pairings and portion control. Try pairing caramels with an apple or a snack-sized candy bar with a banana. Encourage kids to pair their favorite sweets with healthy options. Most candies now come in bite-sized snack sizes. For the ones that don't, consider breaking into sections to moderate your kid's candy intake. In addition to these suggestions for a happy and healthy Halloween, following are some general guidelines created in partnership with the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP):
General Health and Nutrition Guidelines
- Never say never. Allow sweets or treats, such as candy and other snacks, in moderation rather than eliminate them. Children who learn the importance of balanced eating will be better-equipped to manage their own diets as adults.
- Give children a choice. Provide your kids with plenty of healthy alternatives. Focusing only on what your children cannot eat does not teach them how to make healthy choices.
- Practice what you preach. Be a role model. Be active yourself and demonstrate the importance of a healthy diet. If you eat right and exercise regularly, it will be easier to get your children to do the same.
Article courtesy of the National Confectioners Association. To download A Guide to Children's Diet and Nutrition-For Parents in full or for more information, visit www.candyusa.com.
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