The costumes are ready and the countdown to October 31st has begun! While we may have Halloween on the brain, we can also use this time to give a little more thought to heart health. Nearly 1 in 3 kids or teens in the U.S. are overweight or obese, but that’s no reason to get spooked! Check out these tips for a healthier Halloween:
Fill up first. Having a healthy meal BEFORE your kids go trick-or-treating can reduce their temptation to snack while walking or to overindulge.
Bag it. Be sure to find the right size collection bag for your child and steer clear of the pillow case method. If you encourage your child to only take one piece of candy from each house, they’ll be able to visit more houses in the neighborhood.
Get rid of it! Worried you’ll have leftover Halloween candy until long after Valentine’s Day? Using a smaller bag will help, but sometimes kids STILL end up with a ton of extra sweets. Here are some ideas of what to do with the leftover candy:
- Keep enough candy for one piece a day for one or two weeks (long enough for the excitement to wane). Throw away, donate or repurpose the rest.
- When your child asks for a piece of candy, make sure to pair it with a healthy snack: an apple, a banana, some nuts, or celery with peanut butter.
- “Buy back” candy from your child with money or tokens they can trade in for a fun activity: a day at the zoo, an afternoon playing at the park, going ice skating, or a day at the pool.
- Donate excess candy to a homeless shelter or care package program for troops overseas. A familiar sweet treat from home can be comforting at the holidays.
Get moving. Get some exercise by making this Halloween a fun family physical activity event. Set a goal of how many houses or streets you’ll visit, or compete to do as many as you can. Bring a bottle of water and wear comfortable shoes for walking!
Be THAT house. You don’t have to pass out candy on Halloween. Start a new tradition on your street and give out healthier treats or non-edible items. Here are some ideas:
- Clementines or small oranges decorated like Jack-O-Lanterns (with non-toxic ink)
- 100% juice boxes or pouches
- Snack-sized packages of pretzels, popcorn, dried fruit, trail mix, nuts or pumpkin seeds
- Snack-sized packages of fresh fruits and vegetables, such as baby carrots or apple slices
- Mini boxes of raisins
- 100% real fruit strips, ropes or leathers
- Squeezable yogurt tubes or pouches
- Sugar-free chewing gum
- Opt for non-edible items:
- Glow sticks or small glow-in-the-dark toys
- Crayons and coloring books
- Stickers or stamps
- Soap bubble makers
- Plastic spider rings or vampire teeth
For more tips on how to live a healthier life, visit heart.org/healthyforgood.