Halloween is in full-swing, and while kids love to dress in costumes and cause mischief, parents dread the thought of all the leftover candy and the tremendous amount of calories that accompany the day.
But Halloween is actually a great time of year to begin practicing balance and mindfulness when it comes to eating, since it's the official kick-off of the holiday season. Remember, it's alright to indulge in treats, just don't forget to practice moderation.
Here are a few important tips for keeping you and your kiddos extra healthy this year.
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Be aware of calories.1 of 8
Weight management is always a challenge but more so during the holidays. The secret to success is calorie intake, which means choosing appropriate portions and remembering that extra bites add up. It takes only 100 calories a day more than what you need to lead to an extra 10-pound weight gain at the end of the year.
Topping the list of high-calorie candies are Reese Peanut Butter Cups (110 calories per one fun size cup), Peanut M&Ms (90 calories per one fun size bag) and Butterfingers (85 calories per one snack size bar).
Wait to buy Halloween candy.2 of 8
Purchase Halloween candy the day of to avoid temptation. Buy less than what you think you will need to avoid leftovers and, if you really don't want to indulge at all, purchase candies that you do not like. If you still have leftovers, place them out of sight.
If you really have a hard time with temptation choose to pass out non-candy treats such as bouncy balls, spider rings, pencils, erasers, bubbles or stickers.
Eat before you trick or treat.3 of 8
Serve a healthy family dinner before the fun begins, so the kids will not be tempted to eat candy along the way. After trick or treating, offer a cup of warm, low-fat milk with just one treat to ensure that blood sugar is stable before bedtime.
Reach an agreement ahead of time between you and your children regarding when and how much candy they can eat, so that you don't risk any meltdowns.
Stay active.4 of 8
Halloween doesn't have to be all bad! It's actually based around a great physical activity for you and your kids: walking.
Take a long walk around your neighborhood while trick or treating and enjoy all the creative decorations and costumes.
Practice portion control.5 of 8
After trick or treating, sort the candy and set boundaries on an amount to be eaten over the next week. Keep in mind that there are many low-calorie candies that can satisfy a sweet tooth. Always choose fun size candy bars based on the least amount of fat and calories per serving and try and choose healthier dark chocolate versions.
Also, most candy has a long shelf-life, so put the stash out of reach and limit candy to two pieces per day. Larger treats, such as large chocolate bars, can be cut into smaller pieces and frozen.
Bargain.6 of 8
If you're left with an overwhelming amount of candy, bargain with your kids and ask them to trade some of their stash for a favorite nonfood "item," such as a chance to stay up just a little later on a school night.
Pay for each sweet treat they "sell" you, and let them "earn" money for a toy or game they want to buy. Reward your kids for making good decisions.
Keep it in perspective.7 of 8
Halloween is a bit of a childhood right in American culture, and the good news is, it's only one night. Let your kids enjoy themselves, with a few small rules of course, and you will be back to healthy, nutritious meals before you know it!