Adults Healthy News Kids Teens — 29 October 2012

By: Jodie Shield, RD

Will a zombie, superhero or character from Monster High be knocking on your door this Halloween? Don’t be scared, be prepared! It’s easier than ever to find Halloween treats to make kids happy while providing a health benefit. Grocery store shelves are stocked with kid-friendly favorites containing whole grains, extra vitamin C, 100-percent fruit juice, and added fiber.

This year, consider mixing up the candy bowl with some of these items that kids might enjoy, even though they may be good for them. All of these items are available in easy-to-distribute, snack-size packages, too.

  • Whole-grain cheddar flavored crackers
  • Fruit snacks made with 100 percent fruit with added vitamin C
  • Fruit leathers made with 100 percent fruit
  • Sugar-free gum
  • Animal-shaped graham crackers made without trans fat
  • Mini rice cereal treat bars
  • Cereal bars made with real fruit
  • Individual fruit cups
  • Mini 100-percent fruit juice boxes
  • Low-fat pudding cups
  • Baked, unsalted bags of pretzels

Remember to read the labels when buying these treats to be sure they are the healthiest choices. For example, check to see that fruit snacks, fruit leathers, cereal bars and juice boxes are made with 100-percent real fruit; animal crackers are made without trans fats; and that cheddar crackers are made with whole grain.

Other options for your trick-or-treaters are non-food treats such as Halloween pencils, pens, stickers, tattoos and spider rings. If you just can’t resist handing out candy, give bite-size candy bars.

Parents and kids should agree ahead of time on how much and when candy can be consumed each day. When they get home from trick-or-treating, have your children sort their candy into piles of “favorites” and “not so favorites” and let your children choose a few favorites to enjoy. As with any treat, candy can be a part of children’s healthful eating plans—in moderation.

And don’t forget what a workout trick or treating can be. Your kids can burn quite a few calories walking (sometimes in heavy costumes) and climbing up and down stairs!

For more tips about helping your kids enjoy a healthy Halloween, check out some of my other blog posts at KMart Playdate Place. I have a really fun menu featuring Halloween Cuisine.  And in the spirit of Halloween: what type of healthy treat are you going to give this year?

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