CHEF JEFF: Be sure to consume candy in moderationHalloween — with the exception of Christmas and birthdays — is the one day that most kids have always awaited with a heightened sense of anticipation. Besides being able to dress up in a scary or funny costume, they also found themselves with just about all the candy they wanted.
Halloween — with the exception of Christmas and birthdays — is the one day that most kids have always awaited with a heightened sense of anticipation.
Besides being able to dress up in a scary or funny costume, they also found themselves with just about all the candy they wanted.
That hasn’t changed much, especially the part about dressing up as a ghost, goblin, celebrity or the like.
But with more awareness about the growing problem of childhood obesity, some parents are foregoing trick-or-treating in lieu of a party where they can get their children involved in preparing fun things to eat that are better for them than candy. Church and community groups also are promoting Halloween activities.
Of course, not everyone subscribes to this philosophy, so there are always going to be little ones (and big ones, too) who takes to the streets performing the age-old tradition of going from house to house in search of goodies.
Don’t get me wrong. Trick-or-treating can be a lot of fun. It’s priceless to see the kids in costumes, especially the sons and daughters of friends and neighbors. (I remember when our grandson, Rakeem, was small and he went out trick-or-treating. His mom and grandma always made sure he had a festive and memorable costume.)
And as far as candy goes, kids just need to exercise a little moderation.
That goes for parents, too, says licensed registered dietitian Sue Streitz, Altru Health System’s Nutrition Therapy supervisor.
“Halloween is the kickoff to the holidays,” she said. “It is the beginning of many parties, gatherings, meals, snacks and endless temptations. We do fine on a normal, uneventful day, but then seem to undo our health goals over a weekend or special occasion. The thing is, life is full of special occasions. We cannot avoid them, nor do we want to. They are one of the things that make life so enjoyable.
“Yet, because there are so many of them, we cannot afford to “throw caution to the wind” for every special occasion if we expect to make any progress in attaining our health goals.”
Streitz says planning is the key and offers the following healthy Halloween ideas to get you started.
• Buy trick or treat handouts as close to Halloween as possible. Resist the temptation to buy candy because it’s on sale. No matter how good the “deal” is, it’s wasting money if you are buying something that you end up eating yourself.
• Buy the treats that you do not like. Purchasing your favorite candy is a setup to fail. Even if you resist eating the candy before the holiday, it will be even more difficult to avoid the leftovers after. Don’t put yourself through this.
• Change the treat that you hand out — i.e. crayons, peanut butter crackers, pretzels, cheese crackers, fruit juice boxes, sugarless bubblegum spider rings, bracelets, temporary tattoos, shoelaces or ponytail holders, Halloween stickers, coloring books, pencils, erasers, restaurant gift cards, movie tickets, individual bags of popcorn. It will take away the temptation for you and still be a treat for the kids.
• Enjoy the flavor of autumn with calorie free harvest-brewed coffees, such as Dunkin Doughnuts pumpkin spice or dried pumpkin seeds.
• Resist the temptation to have your holiday candy dishes on display to create constant temptation. Replace the candy with potpourri or hard candy that is easier to limit the amount.
• Eat healthy on Halloween. Stay on task with healthy eating throughout the day. Eat your three meals and healthy snacks. If you begin the day indulging in pumpkin cupcakes at morning coffee, you could be setting the trend for the remainder of the day.
• Be sure to get your exercise in that day, even if for a shorter amount of time. It will give you a sense of accomplishment and help remind yourself of your health goals in addition to burning calories to balance out any unexpected nibbles.
• When invited to a party, bring a healthy option that you can depend on.
Here’s one more bit of advice:
Don’t be afraid to set a good example for your kids or grandkids.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at email@example.com.