A Healthier Halloween: How Much Candy Is Safe to Eat?

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Five Tricks for a Healthier Halloween

Janet Frank

 (801) 357-7766

 janet.frank@imail.org

 10/25/2012

October 25 — PROVO — Candy and Halloween go hand-in-hand, but that doesn’t mean families have to give up on their efforts to eat right.

Mindy Probst, registered dietitian at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, has five tricks families can use to have a healthier Halloween.

  1. Divide and conquer: When your kids get home from trick-or-treating, take the time to divide it into individual baggies. Use the snack-sized baggies rather than the sandwich size for more control. Then set the baggies somewhere out of reach and only allow one baggie per day.

  2. Make a trade: Find something your kids want more than candy and allow them to trade their candy in for it. The Brooks family of Highland has been using this strategy for years, with no complaints from their four children, ages 12, 9, 6 and 4. One year, the trade was for money. Another year it was for toys and another was for dinner and a movie.

  3. Don’t forget dinner: Make sure to feed your kids a healthy dinner before trick-or-treating so they will be less likely to splurge on too much candy when they get home. This same strategy can also help children and parents avoid overeating at a Halloween party.

  4. Out of sight, out of mind: Don’t leave any candy out in plain sight – like a candy dish on the counter. Instead, stash it away in an opaque container on the top shelf of the pantry so it takes more effort to indulge.

  5. Read the labels: Take time to read the labels on the candy you choose. This will help you understand what the serving size is and how many fat and calories are in each serving. See attached infographic to visualize how quickly you can reach your daily allotment of “empty calories” by eating Halloween candy.

“All candy is empty calories, but some will have more fat than others. Staying healthy around Halloween is all about portion control,” said Probst.

Families can also set an example for others in the neighborhood by handing out healthier treats on Halloween. The Brooks family chooses fruit leather, but fruit snacks or mini-pretzels are also good options.

For more information, please contact Janet Frank at 801.357.7766 or janet.frank@imail.org.

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