Image from: http://www.forkandbeans.com/2015/08/06/silly-apple-bites/
Halloween is an exciting time for kids, however it can be a frustrating time for parents trying to instil healthy habits in their young ones. By no means should children be excluded from having some sweet treats, especially on special occasions. While it’s important to understand that a few indulgent treats won’t outweigh consistent good nutrition – it’s also important to teach children that healthy eating is important, even on special occasions.
To help with striking the perfect balance, we’ve put together our top 6 tips on how to have a fun Halloween with your children, without going overboard!
1. Eat before you treat
Enjoying a nourishing dinner before going trick or treating is a great way to ensure your child has a full tummy and doesn’t binge on sweets just because they’re hungry. You could even try healthy Halloween themed meals throughout the day, such as a ‘Green Swamp’ smoothie (spinach, banana and mango) for breakfast. Remember that kids learn eating habits from a young age, so teaching them to practice moderation is key.
2. Use Halloween to get active
Trick-or-treating can help you clock up a lot of extra steps. Before the night, parents can help to set a goal for how many houses they would like to visit and plan out a challenging route for walking. If you’re having a party instead of trick-or-treating, try and emphasise fun activities that promote physical activity. There are so many party games that can be Halloween-themed: have a mini pumpkin hunt, play hide and seek with the ‘seeker’ dressed as a ghost, or even hold a zombie disco or costume parade.
3. Take a small bag
This one is pretty simple, but the truth is that if your little one only has a small bag to fill up, they won’t bring home nearly as many sweets as some kids do. Encourage them to choose ‘fun size’ chocolate bars and treats instead of larger ones so that they are still able to visit lots of houses to fill up their bag!
4. Make plans ahead of time about how much candy is to be eaten
Completely banning your child from Halloween treats can encourage an unhealthy relationship with food. After all, there are always going to be occasions when sweet treats are available. The most beneficial thing you can teach your child is moderation instead of restriction. It’s important to talk to your young ones before Halloween rolls around so they understand when and how much of their haul should be eaten. Keeping their treats in the home for only a week or two will allow your kids to enjoy the excitement of Halloween, without the treats becoming a regular habit. Letting them eat 1 or 2 small lollies or chocolate squares per day during this time, paired with a healthy snack like a piece of fruit or low-fat yoghurt, will help to maintain balance. Hopefully, this method will help them to see that if they don’t splurge, their stash will actually last longer!
5. Make healthy alternatives
Show your creative side with Halloween-themed healthy snacks! There are so many fun and exciting alternatives you can make with your kids – they may be surprised by how fun they are!
Check our some of our favourites that we came across online:
6. Remember to take care of your teeth
At the end of the day, too much sugar can be terrible for your children’s teeth! Help to keep your children’s teeth healthy by reminding them of the importance of brushing their teeth, especially after sugary treats. It may be a fun idea to buy them a new toothbrush to start using on Halloween to promote dental hygiene and prevent tooth decay.
We wish you all a happy (heathier) Halloween from us here at The Biting Truth HQ. We’d love to hear your family’s favourite tips for managing those special sweet occasions!
This article was written by an intern The Biting Truth, Melissa Meir and edited by Monique Heller, who are currently studying their Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics.