This article originally published on momlogic.com
Most of us get scared to death as bags full of Halloween candy call out to us from store shelves. Some of you are convinced that you get fat just looking at these harbingers of hedonism. Guess what? It doesn’t have to be that way. There are loads of alternatives out there that will thrill and delight your kids and keep waistlines (and dental bills) in check.
Number one rule: Don’t buy your favorite treats — keep the enemy out of the house. Follow these rules instead:
- Leave the candy on the shelf and give trick-or-treaters something that NO ONE else has thought of — fun toys, stickers and tattoos, silly noses, vampire teeth, fake scars, kazoos, streamers, balloons with funny sayings — use your imagination! Kids love this stuff, and it’s a great alternative to yet another gooey chocolate treat. Don’t they get enough of that already?
- Before your kids go trick-or-treating — feed them! Kids don’t eat when they are full (unlike us adults …). You might even toss in an apple or some fruit as dessert just to quell their sweet tooth.
- If the enemy does show up in the house — and you know it will — throw it in the freezer. One: you won’t see or smell it so the trigger is removed. Two: you can’t pig out on it, unless you want to risk breaking a tooth! Only take out what you can have to continue to earn a B+ on your program. Those little snack-size candy bars are perfect for instituting the 3-bite rule. By the way, I wouldn’t advise you freeze your kids’ snacks to limit them. Instead, for them:
- Insist on inspecting all candy when the kids get home, and have them get rid of the stuff they have no interest in eating. Then, let them pick out three things (small ones). Let them know they will be allowed one treat per day, and hide the rest of it (make sure you take control of the booty). They will forget about it. I toss a little out each day, too, and guess what … they never notice.
- If you are having a party for your kids, serve hot apple cider or hot cocoa. I make great healthy hot cocoa with xylitol as my sweetener and unsweetened cocoa. It takes longer to serve hot drinks, which slows down the consumption of junk, too. How about deviled eggs decorated like eyeballs, and raw veggies with peanut butter and cheese sticks — arrange them to look like crooked fingers on a hand. Play fun, healthy games — bob for apples, or guess the body part (put creepy stuff in paper bags — peeled grapes for eyeballs, spaghetti for intestines, etc.) and focus on activity rather than eating at these get-togethers. Last Halloween, I was surprised and delighted to see that Twister is making a comeback with the younger set — if you don’t remember how physical that game was … it’s time to dust it off and give it a go.
Note: If you feel you must toss some candy into the mix, then select hard candy like Jolly Ranchers and lollipops and suckers that take a long time to eat, are typically lower in calories, and aren’t loaded with trans fats.
JJ Virgin, PhD, CNS is a celebrity health and nutrition expert, author, public speaker and media personality. She is internationally recognized as the creator of the Weight Loss Resistance Revolution(tm) and trains other health care professionals in her program. JJ is the President of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, nanp.org.