An alarm clock, it’s what most people see as their worst enemy on Monday morning. But, my mom saw it as the most adorable Halloween costume she could make her children dress up as. Why couldn’t I have been a princess or a unicorn like my best friend? Instead, I went trick or treating that year in what felt like a sumo wrestler suit with a woman’s brassiere attached to my head.
Halloween is a holiday celebrated by many with costumes, spooks and treats. As a child, I remember Halloween candy lasting up until Thanksgiving and then the candy kept coming through Christmas…and Valentine’s Day…and Easter. When you look at it that way, candy is celebrated with many of our holidays. While I do feel items like candy, cookies and pizza can be a part of everyone’s diet, moderation definitely needs to be enforced.
Essential calories are those that come from foods of high nutritional status such as low-fat dairy products, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, whole grains, healthy fats and oils. Discretionary or “empty” calories are calories that come from foods that are of low-nutrient value. Halloween candy is a perfect example of discretionary calories. According to choosemyplate.gov these are the recommended amount of calories that can be used for discretionary calories.
Most children should only be allowed 120-265 of empty calories. One fun-sized Snickers bar is 80 calories and a fun-sized Twix bar, my childhood favorite, ranks in at 125 calories. A good way to put moderation into practice is to allow your children to choose 2-3 mini candy bars that they may consume each day, if desired. Remember the saying “out of sight-out of mind”? Do this with the candy bowl. Keeping it out of sight verses on the kitchen counter will decrease the temptation of grabbing a small treat every time you walk by the kitchen.
Celebrating the Halloween season doesn’t always have to revolve around sugar and candy corn. You can make boo-ful bananas by cutting a peeled banana in half and create a ghost face by adding 3 small chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth. Draw jack-o-lantern faces on clementines and serve them as mini fruity-pumpkins. Cut and peel an apple to create delicious and fun, fake teeth for kids to snack on. You can always offer Halloween-themed pencils, erasers, stickers or bouncy balls as non-food alternatives to trick-or-treaters.
Wherever your ghostly adventures take you this year, may you have a happy, safe and healthy Halloween.