Have a happy, healthier Halloween

A healthy Halloween snack

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) If you and your family eat sensibly all year, then kids know how to make wise decisions when they are tempted to overindulge with unhealthy foods. Meijer has some ideas to make sure your little ghouls and goblins don’t end up with upset stomachs.

Don’t send your children trick-or-treating on an empty stomach. Make sure they eat a good healthy meal beforehand to reduce the urge to snack.

Trick-or-treat bags that children carry should be appropriate to their size. Older kids can carry larger bags, but not as large as a shopping bag or plastic garbage bag.

Limit the houses your children can visit. That way the treats will most likely come from neighbors and friends, and the moderate amount of treats will be manageable.

Instruct children to wait until they get home to eat any of their goodies so that you can inspect them first. Let them keep only treats that are wrapped commercially. Inspect and throw away any commercially wrapped treats with signs of tampering- tears in wrappers, tiny pinholes, unusual appearance or discoloration.

You don’t have to pass out high calorie candy to trick-or-treaters at your house this year. Give them a variety of fun, non-candy alternatives to promote health rather than encourage unhealthy choices.

Healthy Trick-or-Treat Alternatives

When trick or treaters ring your doorbell, what will you give them? Try nutritious, tasty foods and non-food options, including items that get children up and moving to use the extra calories they consume.

Healthy Food Treats

There are other treats that are lower in fat and sugar but may provide vitamins, minerals and fiber. The possibilities for healthy food treats are endless. Set a good example for your own children and the neighborhood kids by passing out healthy treats like these instead of giving them candy.

  • Cereal bars
  • Snack packets of dried fruit, baked pretzels, nut and seeds (e.g. peanuts*, unsalted almonds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds)
  • Trail mix
  • Packages of low-fat crackers with cheese or peanut* butter filling
  • Animal crackers
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Cracker Jacks
  • 100 calorie packs of various products
  • Single serve boxes of ready-to-eat cereal
  • Raisins and chocolate covered raisins
  • Fig cookies
  • Sugar-free gum or hard candy
  • Gummy candies made with real juice
  • Dried fruit
  • Individual juice drinks (100% juice)
  • Snack Pack pudding
  • Applesauce
  • Single-serve packets of low-fat microwave popcorn
  • Sugar-free hot chocolate or apple cider packets

*Be careful of peanut allergies.

Non-food Treats

Children also will enjoy non-food treats like the items typically given in birthday goodie bags.

  • Small toys and pocket-sized games
  • Glow sticks
  • Costume jewelry (plastic rings, necklaces and bracelets)
  • Funny Halloween glasses
  • False teeth
  • Pencils
  • Pencil toppers and fancy erasers
  • Markers
  • Stickers, including reflective safety stickers
  • Rub-on or stick-on temporary tattoos
  • Bookmarks
  • Crayons
  • Bottles of bubbles
  • Coins (pennies, nickels, dimes)
  • Toothbrushes

Adapted from Clemson Coop. Ext.

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