Halloween Trick or Treat & Move Your Feet!

halloweenI was shopping at Target this weekend and my son was begging me to buy Halloween candy. One thing I’ve learned over the years, in this case, is that procrastination is the best approach to curbing the temptation to sneak a few pieces, wind up eating all the candy and being forced to re-purchase. Instead 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 get organized and 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. Another idea is to purchase candy that you don’t personally like so you’ll be less likely to eat it!

Holiday weight gain seems to launch during Halloween with Thanksgiving and Christmas following shortly after so I thought I’d share a few other tips to manage Halloween and assure you maintain your fitness routine and healthy physique throughout the entire holiday season. Here’s some tips to stay lean and fit starting with Halloween:

Eat Before You Trick or Treat:

If you have dinner before you head out to trick or treat, you’ll be full and less likely to munch while you go.

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Trick or Treat & Move Your Feet:

It’s a positive thing that Halloween gets families outside and walking their neighborhoods so ask yourself, how can you add more movement to your Halloween holiday? Schedule an outing 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? Can you go on walks before Halloween to check out all the cool festive house decorations? Head to the large Haunted Houses that require a good amount of walking and exploring. Plus getting scared gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing which is a positive response!

Think Beyond Candy & Sugar:

halloween2Offering healthier alternatives to candy may not make you the favorite Halloween house on your block or the ‘most popular’ parent but at least you can feel good about the fact that you’re not sending your neighbors’ kids into a sugar high! Head to the local Dollar or Discount stores and pick up some items that make for great treats AND promote a healthy and active lifestyle such as…

  • Ball
  • Skipping rope
  • Chalk
  • Hacky sack
  • Foam airplanes

Or try some fun prizes that aren’t candy or food items…

  • Halloween pencils, pens, crayons, paint brushes or markers
  • Spooky stickers
  • Halloween tattoos
  • Spider rings.
  • Small toys and games
  • Glow sticks
  • Jewelry
  • Halloween glasses
  • False teeth
  • Deck of cards

If you want to go with something edible, try these healthier options…

  • Energy bars
  • Snack packages of dried fruit, raisins, pretzels, nut and seeds
  • Trail mix
  • Beef or Turkey jerky
  • Hot chocolate or apple cider packets
  • Sugar-free gum

Ration It:

If you leave it up to the kids, they’ll eat half and maybe even all 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 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.

Donate:

You can donate candy to shelters, the military and dentist offices will often trade in candy…Kids just don’t need as much candy as they collect so decide what is special that they will keep and what they can donate.

Make a Deal:

Is there something your kids want more than candy? 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. Maybe they need some new sneakers, clothes or just a chance to stay up later or do something cool and fun with their friends. FYI, cash always seems to be easy to trade for.  You can try a system by which friends and family pay for each sweet treat they “sell” you, and let them “earn” money for a toy or game they want to buy. Reward your kids for making good decisions!

The goal of kids during Halloween is to collect as much candy as they can for their stash, and it’s our job as parents to make sure they enjoy the holiday without losing complete control of healthy behaviors. 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 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

Join us for the SCARY RUN THIS SUNDAY, October 30th!
5k or 10k. This race is a fun, costume-themed run/walk. Although titled ‘Scary Run’ your costume doesn’t need to be scary. Be creative and dress in any costume you like as long as you can comfortably and safely run and walk. Feel free to get together with friends and come up with a fun costume theme.

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