Thinking about all the potential Halloween candy that is about to be given out this Friday, I am reminded of one of my first-hand accounts about what chocolate and sugar can do to kids' bodies.
My niece, who was 3 at the time, was really into the movie Shrek, so trying to be the cool Aunt in for a visit, I had bought her a teeny-tiny sample tube of Shrek-colored limited-edition mini M&Ms as a treat. I figured her Mom would dole them out to her over time so no harm done. My niece has always been a handful and we got into playing while she was snacking on a couple after she had asked her Mom's permission. I'm an Aunt, not a Mom, and I figured she knew how many she was allowed to have. The next thing I know the M&Ms had vanished. Not misplaced, just gone, and apparently in my niece's stomach.
She was fine, but boy was she wired! My niece often stayed up late night with adults (that's another parental issue), but it's 11 p.m. and we're playing with a high bounce ball on the vinyl floor in the kitchen and she is showing no signs of letting up. Her Mom comes in annoyed and says "I have to go to work tomorrow, you let her eat all those M&Ms, you deal with it!" I think we were up till 1 a.m. before she finally was over the sugar rush and crashed.
The moral of the story translates into some healthy Halloween treat tips:
1. Choose Halloween treats that are not candy. I've seen pre-packaged bags of pretzels and even mini-granola bars for example.
2. Choose Halloween candy that is not among the worst offenders in terms of fat and calories like fun size Three Musketeers, York Peppermint Patties, Gummi Bears and Candy Corn.
3. Portion control is everything! Dole out the Halloween treats. My Mom used to let me have just one Halloween treat item a day. It also used to make the Halloween treats last till at least Thanksgiving.
4. It is Halloween, it's okay to have treats, just try to make better picks when you can.
It's a challenge to do a healthy Halloween because at home, you can control things. For Trick or Treating, many healthy snacks you'd want to give out for Halloween are just too darn expensive to distribute in large quantities. Also, you don't want your efforts to go to waste and end up in the garbage unloved and be the equivalent of the rock that poor Charlie Brown got every time he tried to Trick or Treat.
Plus, many are not in sealed packaging and when it comes to Halloween, safety has to come first. For example, little raisin packages would be ideal, but they are not sealed. Even years ago when I was a kid, my Mom automatically tossed any Halloween treat, even from known people that was unwrapped and/or unsealed.
Apple slices or baby carrots have cost and spoilage issues although they are sealed (I can just imagine most kids' faces if they got baby carrots in their trick or treat bag--they would rather have Charlie Brown's rock).
It would be nice to see healthy treat manufacturers step up with an affordable, sealed Halloween snack solution. Oh well, maybe next year.
Question: Are you giving out a healthy, sealed, affordable snack this Halloween I didn't think of? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
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Melanie Jordan is an ACE Group Fitness Certified and licensed Zumba Instructor, Turbo Kick Instructor, ZIN Member and IDEA Member currently teaching Zumba in Western Chicagoland in Oakbrook Terrace, Lombard and Downers Grove, IL for class schedule CLICK HERE. She is also a Wellcoaches and ACE Certified Health and Wellness Coach. Melanie is the author of Have Your Cheeseburger And Keep Your Health Too! and blogs at The Healthy Food Review. When she's not teaching Zumba, Melanie heads up SunLoverPublishing.com, her media properties, publishing and marketing coaching/consulting company.
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