Halloween Tips for a Healthy Holiday

Wearing cute or scary costumes and going trick-or-treating is a traditional way to celebrate Halloween. Your kids usually come home with lots of candy, snacks and treats. But what do you do with all that candy, besides eat it all at once and suffer from the sugar cravings that can follow for weeks after trick-or-treating is done? Here are some few ideas to help control the post-Halloween candy craze at your house.

A great way to start proactively is by feeding your kids before they go out. Serve dinner or a healthy snack before heading out trick-or-treating. That can include a peanut butter sandwich and some fruit. Why’d does this help? If they aren’t hungry, your kids will be less likely to gorge themselves on candy when they get home. And you will have less candy to snack on as well.

You may decide to let your children enjoy some (or even a lot) of their Halloween candy when they get home from trick-or-treating. But then you have some choices to make:

  • Let them eat all of it until it’s gone. Not the best idea – lots of calories, fat and sugar and may set up some bad eating habits.
  • Have your kids “trade the candy in” for something better – books, toys, or something of your choosing.
  • Throw the rest away. It may seem wasteful, but if your child has difficulty controlling his or her candy consumption, this may be the best choice.
  • If you don’t want to throw the candy away, giving it away may be another option. Take the rest of the candy to work or group meetings. Hopefully, the adults will have good  control over their candy consumption.
  • Don’t buy Halloween candy early. You may just tempt yourself and your kids into eating it before the trick-or-treating even starts.
  • Give out individually packaged healthy treats like nuts, raisins, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, cashews, whole grain crackers or little bags of microwave popcorn.

Weight management is always a challenge but more so during the holidays. The secret to success is calorie intake, which means choosing appropriate portions and remembering that extra bites add up.

1. Pumpkins

Pumpkins are great for a lot more than making jack-o-lanterns. One cup of mashed pumpkin has only 49 calories and is loaded with vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. It also has nearly 3 grams of fiber and high in potassium. Pumpkin also contains vitamin C as well as iron and zinc.

2. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are loaded with manganese, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin K, zinc and protein. One ounce has 158 calories, 8.57 grams of protein, 1.7 grams of fiber and almost 25 percent of the recommend daily value for iron! Pumpkin seeds also have plant sterols that can help reduce the risk of heart disease and fight cancer. They are also a fantastic source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Wash them, dry, and then toast them with garlic and onion powder and a bit of salt and pepper. They take about 30 to 40 minutes at about 300 degrees to toast.

3. Know What You’re Eating

  • Hershey’s Fun Bar vs. Tootsie Rolls vs. Nestle Crunch: Each Hershey’s “Fun” bar has about 75 calories. A Nestle Crunch mini-bar has 60 calories, and just three Tootsie Roll Midgees have 70 calories. What about those Hershey’s Special Dark miniatures? They’re each 38 calories.
  • Pez vs. Smarties vs. Candy Corn: One (15-tablet) roll of Smarties has 25 calories and 25 grams of sugar. The candy corn has 150 calories for 20 pieces. That’s 7.5 calories each–about the same as one almond, except that the almond is a nutrition powerhouse. One roll of Pez has 35 calories and 9 grams of sugar.
  •  Twizzlers vs. Peeps vs. Now and Later: Each Halloween-sized pack of Twizzlers has 140 calories- along with red dye number 40. For eight pumpkin Peeps (32 grams) the calorie cost is 110, with 26 grams of sugar (about 6.5 tablespoons). The Now and Later has 40 calories in each small bar.
  •  Tootsie Roll Snack Bars vs. York Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Patties: There is some misperception out there that York Peppermint Patties are healthy, but I’m not sure why. Each 13.3-gram patty has 50 calories and 9 grams of sugar. Tootsie Roll Snack Bars are also 50 calories each.
  •  Tootsie Pop vs. Charms Blow Pop (with Gum) vs. Dum Dums: That’s 60 calories for both the Blow Pop and the Tootsie Pop, and only 19.67 calories for the Dum Dum.

Other Options

According to research done at Yale University and reported in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, children are just as likely to choose toys as candy on Halloween. For the study, seven households offered 284 trick or treaters between the ages of 3 and 14 a choice between comparably sized toys and candies. The results showed that the children were just as likely to choose the toys as the candy. Below are alternative options to hand out for trick or treating besides candy:

  • Cereal bars
  • Snack packs of dried fruit, pretzels, nut and seeds
  • Trail mix
  • Low-fat crackers with cheese or peanut butter filling
  • Animal crackers
  • Beef or turkey jerky
  • Single serve boxes of healthy cereal
  • Raisins and chocolate covered raisins
  • Single serve packets of microwave popcorn
  • Hot chocolate or apple cider packets
  • Small toys and pocket-sized games
  • Glow sticks
  • Costume jewelry
  • Funny Halloween glasses
  • False teeth
  • Miniature magnifying glasses
  • Tiny decks of cards
  • Markers
  • Stickers
  • Temporary tattoos
  • Bookmarks
  • Crayons
  • Coloring tablets
  • Paint brushes

You can always encourage kids to be more physically active by giving small, inexpensive toys to get them up and moving such as:

  • Bouncy ball
  • Jump rope
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Hacky sack
  • A foam airplane flier

In Conclusion

When you go trick or treating, don’t just sit in your car and drive your kids from house to house. Get out there and walk the walk. Expect to burn about 176 calories per hour during a casual stroll. Keep this above tips in mind for a healthy lifestyle. At NYC Adventure Boot Camp we encourage that you have fun and treat yourself, nothing is wrong with indulging in some Halloween candy but MODERATION IS THE KEY!





If you are in New York City and interested in joining an all woman’s boot camp  please visit NYC ADVENTURE BOOT CAMP, mention that you found us through our blog for and extra 15% off a membership. Come work out like a GIRL!!!

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