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Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Trick or Treat’

With Halloween and Harvest festivities right around the corner, it’s time to pick out costumes and get ready to go Trick or Treating (or Trunk or Treating).  Traditionally, most people handout goodies that the kids love to eat including candy and other sugar products.  While it’s okay to indulge in these on occasion, the truth is that rates of overweight and obese children are on the rise.  It’s time to start taking responsibility for what our youth are putting into their bodies.  One way to do this would be to start choosing healthier ‘treats’ when we hand out to the children.  Now we don’t have to go to the extreme of only handing out tooth brushes and pennies, but instead of just buying whatever candy is on sale this year compare food labels and determine what a good choice is.  Halloween isn’t just limited to food, kids love to get little gifts in their treat bags.  Below are some fun ideas that you can use this holiday.

Food Options:

Use the MyPlate as your guide as you choose individually wrapped snacks that will be easy to handout and provide some type of nutritional value.  For example, from the fruits and vegetables food groups hand out sealed containers of carrot and celery sticks, apple sauce or fruit cups.  Another option would be 100% fruit or vegetable juice boxes.  For the grains and protein food groups you could hand out bags of cheese and crackers, trail mix, pretzels, or mixed nuts.  Keep in mind that some children have nut allergies so it’s best to check with the parents if you are giving them anything that has been in contact with peanuts and other nut products.  For the dairy group you could hand out low-fat milk jugs or pudding cups.  *Please keep in mind that all of these items should be packaged and sealed.  If you handout homemade treats chances are that parents will throw these away, so it’s better to just purchase something that’s already made.

Non-Food Items:

Kids don’t love JUST candy.  Often times it’s exciting to receive some type of gift.  You can get these at your local discount or bulk store at a pretty reasonable price.  Items that promote physical activity are a great idea because after they eat all of their candy they can get some exercise as well.  These would include: balls, Frisbees, chalk for drawing hopscotch on the driveway, and jump ropes.  You can also choose items like pencils, little notebooks, yoyos, silly bands, small coloring books, crayons, pencil toppers, toy cars or play jewelry, fake tattoos, etc. These are fun, inexpensive items that you can buy in bulk and pass out to the children.    Be careful handing out very small items to young children because of choking reasons.

Whatever you choose to give out this year please think about how it will affect the children.  A treat once in a while is perfectly okay, but most of us remember stuffing themselves full of candy at the end of the night.  We need to face childhood obesity head on and give our children some healthier options.

Written by: Dana Brown, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Morrow County, http://morrow.osu.edu, brown.4643@osu.edu.

Reviewed by:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County

Sources:

Burnett, N [2012].  Alternatives for a healthy Halloween.   Available at: http://www.johnson.ksu.edu/p.aspx?tabid=1281

Hunter, J [2008].  Celebrate Halloween the Healthy Way.  Available at:  http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/hot_topics/2008/10halloween.html

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