Trick Or Treat: Sweet Alternatives
By Syreeta McDonald, Extension Intern
For most people, October marks the beginning of the holiday season. If you celebrate Halloween, you are likely already stocking up on the seasonal candy to pass out to all the costumed kids that knock on your door. Having all those sweets around can become a huge temptation and drive you away from your health and wellness goals. But there are several ways to prepare for the influx of sweets without derailing your goals.
- Hand out Halloween themed fruit; an easy and fun option would be to make Jack-O-Lanterns out of oranges. Select a variety of oranges; tangerines and clementines are a great size for children, however any style of orange will do. Using a food grade marker draw a Jack O Lantern style design on your oranges and hand them out to the children at your doorstep.
- Pre-packaged applesauce, jello, and fruit cups are great options as well. fruit contains natural sugars, antioxidants, and fiber. jello is a low calorie treat and fun to eat! However, check your ingredients list and nutrition labels; when possible, choose products without artificial colors, dyes, and artificial flavors(Robinson, 2016) in them. Hand these out to children instead of candy. Have some fun at home and decorate the fruit and jello cups with arts and crafts items like crazy eyes, spiders’ legs, or just keep it simple and draw Frankenstein and other spooky faces on the container. This can easily turn into a family activity and the children, both at home and in the neighborhood, can add these fruit and jello cups to their lunches for the week.
- Dark chocolate, peanut butter, and nuts are great options to give out as well. Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants(Robinson, 2016), peanuts and nuts have healthy fats and protein. Be careful and mindful of possible nut allergies.
- Consider handing out sugar free candy or lollipops, which contain less grams of sugar and take longer to consume, therefore keeping your sugar craving satisfied longer.
- You can also opt out of giving out any sweets and go with non-edible treats instead. Give kids Halloween stickers, Play-Doh, slime, bouncy balls, glow in the dark armbands, or small toys that light up.
Halloween can be a fun time spent with family and friends, creating memories, and of course enjoying seasonal treats. Don’t forget, you and or your children are out walking in the neighborhood getting some exercise in, so you will all receive some health benefits as well so give yourself some space to enjoy your treats while also maintaining a healthy balance.
- Robison, J. (2016). 7 healthier halloween treats kids will actually love. Retrieved from https://www.acefitness.org/resources/pros/expert-articles/6137/7-healthier-halloween-treats-kids-will-actually-love/
Source: UF/IFAS Pest Alert