By Rennie Aranda – Skinny Gene Nutritionist
Halloween is a festive holiday that parents can enjoy with their kids, but it can be challenging to assure healthy eating habits since the goal of most children is to get as much Halloween candy as possible. Don’t wait until this time of year to prepare the family for resisting the sweet temptations of this holiday. If you and the family try to eat healthfully all year, kids will be more likely to make wise decisions when faced with the temptation to overindulge in unhealthy foods. Help kids enjoy Halloween without overindulging by following these tips:
1) Do not send your children trick-or-treating on an empty stomach. Serve them a healthy meal beforehand to help reduce the urge to snack.
2) Give children trick-or-treat bags that are appropriate for their size. Older kids may carry larger bags, but not as large as a shopping bag or plastic garbage bag. Smaller bags take a shorter amount of time to fill and also give them the impression that they have lots of treats to choose from in comparison to filling up a much larger bag.
3) Limit the houses your children can visit to a two to three block radius so that treats will most likely come from friends and neighbors, and the moderate amount of treats will be manageable.
4) Instruct children to wait until they get home to eat their treats so that they can be inspected first. This way, you can manage which treats you want available to them and throw away any treats with signs of tampering.
5) Promote good health by passing out a variety of fun, non-candy alternatives (or lower calorie, healthy alternatives) to trick-or-treaters at your house this year.
Not sure what healthy dishes to serve while upholding the Halloween spirit? Try some of these fun, nutritious Halloween treats for the whole family to enjoy!
1) No-bones-about-it vegetable skeleton. Create a spooky skeleton with different veggies such as carrots, celery, colorful bell peppers, and cucumbers, while using hummus dip for the face. Vegetables come in so many shapes and sizes so they make the perfect building blocks. Have fun and be creative!
2) Jack-o-latern dip. Carve out a small pumpkin or orange to use as dip containers for hummus, salsa, or yogurt-based dips. Paint a face on the pumpkin instead of cutting holes.
3) Black & orange dip. Serve black bean dip served with sweet potato chips/fries or orange bell pepper strips.
4) Brains! Carve a small, seedless melon (watermelon or cantaloupe) to resemble brains. Cut the outer skin of the melon, leaving the white pith. Cut through the white pith with a knife to resemble the brain’s squiggly folds. Then carve to expose a little of the flesh (works well with a watermelon to expose red-colored flesh).
5) Boo-nanas. Dip peeled bananas in orange juice, then roll in shredded coconut to make white ghosts. Add small raisins or chocolate chips for eyes, then insert a wooden craft stick for a handle (so the ghosts can float about hauntingly). Serve as is or frozen.
6) Witches teeth. Core and quarter an apple. Remove the wedge from the skin side of each quarter to form a mouth. Insert variously shaped and sized slivered almonds for teeth.