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Halloween: It's Game On | October 27, 2010

The name of the game is pillaging… pillaging as much candy as will possibly fit into an oversized pillowcase. Every year, children are given one night to roam about and rampage neighborhoods in search of their favorite goodies. Much like the Vikings, they pilfer and hoard their spoils of sugary goodness. While this tradition has been practiced for ages, you might consider a healthy Halloween make over this year.

One makeover approach might be to think of Halloween as a sporting event. You wouldn’t send your child to their soccer game without a good meal to provide them with energy. Before heading out on the Halloween hunt, have a healthy meal so your children aren’t tempted to snack on their candy in between houses. Make sure dinner has a good source of lean protein, such as chicken or beans, and a complex carbohydrate, like brown rice or whole grain pasta. A side of salad or cooked vegetables will add nutrients and bulk to the meal to keep your children feeling full longer.

Another makeover tactic is to look at what you are handing out this year. If you don’t have any trick-or-treaters, who ends up eating the leftovers? When you think about what to hand out this Halloween, try to find snacks that are a less sugary. How about doling out little boxes of yogurt covered raisins, individual packages of microwave popcorn, pretzels, or granola bars? Nonfood items can include stickers, pencils, glow bracelets and necklaces and small toy items.  Your local dollar store offers some great options.

When everyone gets home, it’s good to have a post game recovery plan. First strategy:  don’t binge. While it might be tempting to dig into the candy bag, it is better to pick one or two favorite goodies, then bag up the rest for later. If your children are likely to gorge, hide their plunder or put it in a cabinet that is too high for them to reach and then hand it out in servings that you feel are appropriate. You can even portion the candy into little baggies that your children can choose throughout the upcoming week. Better yet, offer them with a glass of milk.  If there is so much candy you don’t know what to do with it, always remember you can throw it away. While this may seem wasteful, it’s better to send it to your garbage than to your thighs.

Last but not least, avoid the temptation of the post-Halloween sale. While the cost of the candy is economical, think of the price you pay later when you face the dreaded Halloween weight gain.

Happy Trick or Treating!