Excited children in costumes will soon flood neighborhood sidewalks to perform their annual collection of Halloween treats. As plastic pumpkins fill with sugary sweets, parents may ask, “Is it possible to have a healthy Halloween?”
Nutrition Services Education Dietitian Jennifer Lengyel believes it is, through proper education. Lengyel has been teaching elementary school students how to become responsible trick-or-treaters and avoid the issues that come with overindulging.
“The goal is for students to have fun during Halloween, to learn moderation, and take care of their bodies,” Lengyel said. “Talking about how they feel when having too much candy is a better teaching tool than just telling them what not to do.”
Children who eat all the candy collected on Halloween night are consuming more than 700 grams of sugar in a very short time. This can cause sugar highs, sugar crashes, upset stomachs, and headaches.
“We show them how to share their candy with their family, friends and classmates,” Lengyel added.
Other tips on how to have a “healthy Halloween”:
- Eat a healthy meal before trick-or-treating. This will reduce the temptation to eat on the run and give children more energy so they can trick-or-treat longer.
- Pick toys instead of sweets.
- Give candy to parents to ration it and make it last longer.