Celebrate a healthy Halloween
By Candice Weaver, Cannon Health and Wellness Center
/ Published October 27, 2006
CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- With Halloween on Tuesday and the aisles of the grocery store lined with individually-wrapped candy, it is not surprising that this time of year is one of the most profitable for the candy industry, nor is it that one-third of American children and adolescents are either obese, overweight or becoming obese.
According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, overweight or obese children are more likely to be overweight or obese adults.
In addition, they are more likely to suffer from chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, bone and joint problems, and a poor self-esteem.
This Halloween, instead of contributing to the 2 billion "kernels" of candy corn sold each year, opt for healthier goodies.
Some great ideas for healthier trick-or-treat alternatives include: stickers or other novelties, dried nuts, fruits or seeds, coloring books and crayons, pencils, pencil toppers and erasers, plastic spiders or rings, mini juice boxes, cereal bars and toothbrushes.
If parents are unable to resist giving out candy, look for healthier options. For example licorice has only 30 calories per piece. Lower fat candies also include peppermint patties and mints.
Although some parents may implement some of these healthier treats into their trick-or-treating goodies, neighbors might not be as health-conscious.
So how do parents deal with a child bringing home 10 pounds of chocolate?
Family Fun magazine suggests:
1. Ration the candy -- give each child one or two pieces a few times a week instead of allowing them to gorge themselves on Halloween night.
2. Allow children to keep 10 pieces of candy and give the rest away.
3. Save the candy for use in holiday baking. Make cookies or cakes for others using the chocolate bars instead of chocolate chips.
Finally, remember to check all items received during trick-or-treating for tampering before allowing children to consume or play with them.
For additional resources on healthy eating, contact the Health and Wellness Center at 784-1004.