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How to keep your Halloween Healthy (or at least, healthier)

For most all children, Halloween is seen as one night when all the rules are off! Healthy eating habits have been put on hold and the quest for sugar overload has begun. As fun as it may sound, the aftermath is well…less appealing.

Since 1980, the childhood obesity rate has tripled and studies are showing that more and more dentists are seeing preschoolers with an average of 5-10 cavitiesat a time. To take a deeper look into this issue, you’ll need to face the candy and see calories. Based on the caloric values given for popular candies, the average child’s trick-or-treat bag is filled with 3,500 to 7,000 calories of treats by the end of Halloween night. If a child were to intake all 7,000 calories, they would need to walk for approximately 44 hours to burn those calories…That is a lot of laps around the neighborhood playground.

Although these numbers sound scary and you’re probably wishing those statistics are a part of a Halloween prank, the holiday should still be a fun night for you and your children to enjoy without having to worry about the effects later. There are always ways to incorporate healthy foods and even workouts into any setting.  Here are a few tips on how you and your family can take to keep Halloween healthy and still participate in all of the festivities without feeling like the weight gain and cavities are soon to follow.

Fill up before you head out.

Prepare a healthy dinner for your children to eat before they head out on their trick-or-treating journey.  If your kids are full when they leave, they’ll be less likely to overeat on their candy collection when they return.

Provide some fun treat alternatives to your trick-or-treaters.

Treats like Animal Crackers, sugar-free hot chocolate packets, or granola bars are examples of healthy alternatives you can offer your little visitors on Halloween. Certain toys like glow-sticks or Play-Doh containers can also be nice gifts that kids may get even more excited about than candy.

Trick-or-treat and exercise.

Although your children are focused on the candy, they may not realize how much walking it takes to get to those sweet treats.  Instead of driving your children from home to home, walk with them so they can be active without even paying attention to it…sneaky, sneaky!