Halloween is just around the corner and the shelves in the grocery stores are piled high with candy bars and candy waiting to be purchased. Thousands of trick-or-treaters and Halloween enthusiasts will be purchasing bags of candy to hand out and eat. However, is there a healthier option to enjoy the treats of this season? We asked H3’s Registered Dietitian, Felicia Spence for her tips on Unwise, Better, and Best options for Halloween candy/treats.
1. Full-size candy bar
2. Candy that has trans-fat in them. For example, Tootsie Rolls have 1g of trans-fat for every serving
1. Fun size candy allows for better portion control in the candy intake is moderated over a certain amount of weeks/months
2. As a person giving out candy, give each child ONE piece of candy instead of a handful. Also, do not leave the candy bowl out for kids to take as much as they wish
3. Limit trick or treating time to 1 hr so that the volume of candy is less. Focus the night on activities like watching movies and playing board games.
4. Try 70% or more Dark chocolate squares because of its antioxidant benefit
1. Offering non-candy choices to kids like stickers, bouncy balls, Pokemon cards. This has become popular with the “teal pumpkin” idea that kids have food allergies and handing out non-candy options will avoid that
2. Hand out dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, or cherries
3. Hand out clementine oranges
The Dietary Guidelines recommends preschool children have no more than 4 tsp of added sugar per day-age 4-8 an intake of 3tsp/day, and pre-teen/teenagers 5-8tsp/day. The American Heart Association found that the average child eats 12-21tsp of added sugar per day. Added sugar found in pop, snacks, and sweets should not be confused with naturally occurring sugar found in fruit. If you can imagine that 1 tsp of sugar is one packet of sugar, imagine a child eating 12-21 sugar packets every day. That can be scary! Fear not and try healthier alternatives this Halloween!