Healthy Halloween

halloween2Halloween launches the holiday weight gain season but it doesn’t have to be that way.  You CAN have a healthy Halloween! It’s easy to be tempted by candy, treats, parties, dinners but if you’re proactive, you can maintain your fitness routine and healthy physique for the next 2 months and eliminate the need to start from scratch or reverse a lot of damage on January 1st.

Here’s some tips to stay healthy, lean and fit starting with Halloween:

Resist the Purchase:

Most people will try and get organized and purchase Halloween candy early but JUST DON’T DO IT!  If it’s in the house, you (and your kids) will be likely tempted to sneak a few pieces here and there (or the whole bag!!) and wind up having to buy more! Purchase your Halloween candy on Halloween day to avoid an excess consumption of calories days and weeks before the actual holiday.  If you do feel the need to buy your Halloween candy early, put it in the garage on the highest shelf or in the attic that you would need to use a ladder to get at. Or store it at your neighbor’s house – just make sure you tell them they can’t eat any of it either!

Move that Body:

How can you add more movement to your Halloween holiday? Be sure to get to the Pumpkin Patch and walk the maze, search long and hard for the perfect pumpkin and participate in all the active options.  Can you trick or treat in neighborhoods where the houses are spaced further apart requiring more walking or in an area that is hilly to get your heart rate up? Can you host a Halloween Dance party? I like that Halloween gets families outdoors walking the neighborhood but can’t we do that on more nights other than just Halloween and without the candy?!  So take this time as an opportunity to promote an active lifestyle and get the family outside for a hike, a long walk or a bike ride.  Enjoy the Northwest and all the beautiful colors.  We live in God’s country, a little piece of heaven on earth so take advantage of it! Your bodies, minds and spirits will thank you for getting outdoors and breathing in all the fresh air!

Think Outside of the Box:

Every parent wants to be the ‘coolest’ parent but that doesn’t always promote a healthy lifestyle.  The American Dietetic Association offers the following suggestions for nutritious Halloween goodies.  You may not be the favorite Halloween house on your block but at least you can feel good about the fact that you’re not sending your neighbors’ kids into sugar oblivion!

  • Mini rice cereal bites
  • Packages of trail mix
  • Cereal or energy bars
  • Small boxes of raisins
  • Small packages of dried fruit
  • Sugar-free gum
  • Mini juice boxes
  • Or try Halloween pencils or pens, spooky stickers, tattoos, or spider rings.

Be the “Candy Cop” – Control Consumption:

If you leave it up to the kids, they’ll eat half their candy before bed-time on Halloween night!  Instead, sit down with their stash, and separate it into small sized snack pouches that limit how much candy they have per day.  Not that we’re saying that kids need candy every day but at least it’s a start!  Explain to them clearly how much and when candy can be consumed.  For example, you may set limits that prevent candy intake before bed or in the morning before school.  But you may allow a small snack bag only after they eat their nutritious lunch.

Trade It In:

I give away a lot of my kids’ candy because they just don’t need it all!  You can donate it to shelters, the military or dentists offices will often trade in candy…it’s better to disperse it then have so much in one home.  I know some parents that also work deals with their kids.  For example, they may trade their candy in (or half of it) for a special toy or a trip to G6 or The Source Rockclimbing Gym.

In Oregon & Washington, about 25% percent of kids are overweight or at risk for becoming overweight and this number is increasing every year.  The last thing our kids need is more sugar, fat and a candy binge!  By following a few proactive tips, we can still promote moderation and healthy nutrition without coming off as the world’s worst parents and the Halloween Grinch!

Yours in Health & Fitness,
Sherri McMillan

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