Easy Reader Staff

Trick-or-Treat Without Looking Like a Pumpkin

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Devin Alexander is a local celebrity chef whose home-base is right here in the beach cities! She shared with us some of her secrets for surviving the (delicious) temptations of the Halloween holiday season … and beyond:

To most, the thought of Halloween brings visions of trick-or-treating, pumpkin patches and haunted houses. But to those struggling with their weight, this scary holiday (pun intended!) marks the start of the dreaded, yet dear holiday season and the mixed feelings and anxiety of being around so much candy, food and holiday treats. Halloween is undeniably the first of several holidays in the season that encourages a poor diet.

The good news is that this year, you won’t have to white knuckle your way through it all. I (www.devinalexander.com) have tons of ideas to set you up for success. Out with the ghouls, we’re ready to be gobblin’. But what to eat?

As a card-carrying, lifetime member of the chocoholic council, ;) I undoubtedly understand the importance of stocking up for success. I’ve heard a lot of folks say that they avoid overindulging by purchasing only candy that they don’t like (if only there was candy I don’t like!). Though this is a great strategy for you, you’re not passing on health to the children coming to the door.

So what can we give out that’s healthy and fun?

If your budget can handle it, consider giving out juice boxes or water bottles. Though, at first glance, you might worry your house will get egged or t.p.’ed, think about it: kids are going door to door, often racing, collecting tons of candy. They get really thirsty. Handing out a beverage will actually be much better received than you think.
Give out boxes of pretzels or baked chips. Though they are not as great as water or 100% orange juice, they’re relatively low in calories and fat, and they aren’t pure sugar.
Again, if your budget can handle it, bags of nuts or dried fruit are another great, healthy option. Though they are calorie dense, they contain “good” fats and natural sugars. Just be sure to buy the dry roasted nuts, not “roasted”, which have added oils.
Fruit snacks are another viable option. They’re sweet and seemingly similar to gummy candy with a fraction of the sugar and fat.
Another possibility, particularly if you’re on a tight budget, is to consider passing out tootsie pops or other lollipops. Though they are virtually pure sugar, they take a long time to eat, so people tend to eat fewer. Plus, they are very low in fat.
Sugar-free gum is another great, virtually calorie-free option. Kids LOVE gum. And this is another one that if you have leftovers, it’s not going to harm you.
Head to your $.99s Only Store. They often carry big packs of plastic rings (as in kid-friendly jewelry), necklaces, military figurines, etc. You may find some pretty neat toys to give away. And play-doh is always a great option that might be found there, as well.

Now that we have the “what to buy” taken care of, let’s continue to strategize. Before you send your child (or yourself) out trick-or-treating: Be sure they eat a sensible meal. If they eat a balanced meal with veggies, they’ll be less likely to have cravings. Also, be sure they drink plenty of water. Though you certainly don’t want them weighted down or overstuffed, it’s important they don’t leave the house hungry. If they’re full, they’ll be more apt to enjoy the “sport” of the night’s activities, running house to house than being concerned with digging in, in route or even overindulging in candy when they return home.

Halloween is actually a really great excuse to sit your children down and discuss healthy eating. It’s really important, especially with children, however, that you make it about health, not about diet or weight. Let your children know that they can definitely enjoy some candy, but make them aware that they need to be active and eat balanced diets. That way, when the candy comes in the door, they don’t have an expectation (or even desire) to hoard it all.

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