2011-10-28 / Health & Wellness

Have healthy treats on hand for your Halloween party

Healthy and Halloween are not often used in the same sentence. Halloween is usually seen as a time to get dressed up, gather sugary treats and enjoy the spookiness of the season.

TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the 63-yearold nonprofit weight-loss support organization, offers tips on how to stock the kids’ bags with better treats and enjoy a healthier Halloween.

Give better trick-or-treating goodies. It’s inevitable that children will receive candy, so parents should take steps to limit sugar consumption. Feeding children a nutritious meal before trick-ortreating will help curb their urge to snack on sweets.

Once the candy is home, adults can let children pick out their favorite pieces and decide how much to have each day. The remaining candy can be put out of sight, donated to charity or thrown away. This helps keep parents from overindulging, too.

Neighbors can promote healthier habits and offer alternatives to candy so children can enjoy the spooky evening without sacrificing nutrition. Here are some ideas for treats to hand out.

Skip the sweets and sugar and provide healthier options: Animal crackers, granola bars, snack-size bags of pretzels, trail mix, graham crackers, microwave popcorn, sugar-free gum, small boxes of raisins.

Give treats that encourage playing rather than eating: bouncy balls, sidewalk chalk, temporary tattoos, crayons, fun pencils and fancy erasers, yo-yos, spider rings, glow sticks.

Throw a healthy Halloween party. Plan an event that gets guests of all ages moving and fills them with good-for-you snacks.

Replace sugary treats with nutritious party snacks such as apples with caramel or yogurt dip, roasted pumpkin seeds, apple cider, pumpkin muffins, a vegetable “skeleton,” a melon carved like a brain and seasoned pretzels.

Make a vegetable skeleton. Gather red pepper, carrot sticks, broccoli, green beans, cherry tomatoes, a cucumber, celery sticks, cauliflower or other vegetables. Use sliced red pepper as the rib cage and cauliflower for the skeleton’s hands and feet. Carrots and celery can form the shoulders, arms and legs. Use the bowl of dip as the head.

Get moving. Bob for apples, pin the nose on the witch or the pumpkin, go on a scavenger hunt, walk through a haunted house or participate in a fall relay race.

Shift kids’ focus from food to an activity. Have craft stations where children can create masks out of paper plates, make slime or color.

Make slime. Use two mixing bowls, measuring cups, spoons, glue, borax, green food coloring and water.

Mix together 3/4 cup warm water, one cup glue and several drops of green food coloring in the first bowl. In the second bowl, combine four teaspoons borax and 1 1/3 cups warm water.

Pour the contents of the first bowl into the second bowl. Do not stir. Let it stand for one minute, then lift the “slime” out of the bowl.

Use plastic bags to store the slime. Keep away from children under 3 years old.

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