Which do you prefer, a trick or a treat? Most people prefer the treat. The excitement of Halloween is looming and with it comes the excitement of collecting buckets of candy. Candy will be everywhere in the weeks leading up to and after Halloween. It will be in your home, in your office, in your child’s school, and it will seem as if it can’t be avoided. With its presence comes a game of tug-of-war, and few people have the endurance to resist its temptation.

Our children are at great risk of falling prey to the candy fix. Children do not usually understand the link between lifestyle behaviors and health. Therefore, they do not understand why they shouldn’t eat all the candy they can in one sitting; they see and have to have. It has been estimated in recent years that Americans spend approximately $2 billion on Halloween candy, and an average jack-o-lantern bucket holds 250 pieces of candy amounting to approximately 9000 calories. In an era where adult and childhood obesity continues to rise, these statistics are alarming.

An interesting fact is that candy was not a part of early Halloween celebrations. Only in the 1950s and 1960s did candy companies see the opportunity in capitalizing in sales by advertising candy in association with Halloween. Since this has been the existing norm for several decades, we should actively find alternate ways to minimize the negative effects that candy can have on ourselves and our children. The following explores some suggestions for keeping healthy through the Halloween season.

Plan ahead: If you or your child is invited to Halloween parties, it might be best to eat a nutritious meal or snack before arriving. A nutritious meal should consist of protein and fiber so that your stomach will feel fuller longer. This will keep your hunger at bay and help to minimize the temptation of indulging in unhealthy food choices such as high-fat, high-sugar candy and baked goods. Filling up before “trick-or-treating” may also minimize the amount of candy your child will want to consume after.

Include some tricks instead of treats: Instead of giving out candy, why not stock up at the dollar store on some cool toys to give out on Halloween night. Other ideas include giving out coins, crayons, pencils, erasers, stickers, and tattoos. Doing actual tricks for your trick-or-treaters may be a good idea too.

Non-sugary treats: Instead of buying 5 pound bags of candy, replace the candy with non-sugary treats. Pretzels, popcorn, granola bars, dried fruit, real-fruit leathers, and animal crackers are good options.

Exercise: Trick-or-treating can be a good opportunity to get physical activity in for both you and your children. Walking instead of driving is a great idea. If you or your children are planning on attending parties, make sure to get your exercise in earlier in the day or the next day to counter-balance the calories consumed.

Only keep favorites: Sorting the candy is a good way to decrease the amount you have. Help your children sort by choosing only their favorites and either discard or give away the rest. If you do end up buying candy to give out, buy your least favorite candy; this way if it lays around the house you’ll be less tempted to eat it.

Eat candy in moderation: Only allow yourself and your children one to three pieces of candy per day and put away the rest. Moderation is a good way to keep your nutritional balance in check.

Be mindful about your consumption: Pay attention and maintain awareness when reaching for a piece of candy. Ask yourself why you want it, if you are hungry or not, or whether psychological factors may be motivating you. You can guide your children through this process as well by asking them the same questions. Raising awareness could help decrease your intake.

Just because you see candy everywhere does not mean you have to fall into its trap. Following some of these suggestions and consuming candy in moderation will help guide you and your children through this ubiquitous holiday. Hopefully these suggestions will help you maintain a healthy balance as well as positive nutrition choices.

Author's Bio: 

Bonnie R. Giller helps chronic dieters break free of the pain of dieting and get the healthy body they love. She does this by creating a tailored solution that combines three essential ingredients: a healthy non-diet mindset, nutrition education and caring support where people learn to eat based on their physiological signals rather than situational or emotional cues. The result is they lose weight, keep it off without dieting and live a healthy life of guilt-free eating.

Bonnie is a Registered Dietitian (R.D.), Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist (CDN) and Certified Diabetes Educator (C.D.E.). In addition, she is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She offers programs for the chronic dieter to achieve long lasting weight loss, for people with diabetes to attain blood sugar control and prevent diabetes complications, and for those suffering with irritable bowel syndrome to identify their food triggers so they can enjoy a symptom free life. Bonnie also treats a variety of other medical conditions, and offers a nutrition program teaching young children how to make healthy food choices.

Get a copy of Bonnie’s Free Guide, “5 Steps to a Body You Love without Dieting” at www.DietFreeZone.com

For more information on Bonnie’s programs, visit www.brghealth.com