Halloween is a fun time of year for the kids and often times, adults alike. And while it’s only once a year it is our chance to make a little difference. The kiddies will get more than enough candy elsewhere. So how about some GREAT alternative ideas? Things that they will like just as well or even better than more candy.
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But why should we? It’s one little positive thing we can do. I personally, feel that I don’t need to contribute to the various health issues facing our youngsters these days. Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States, and it can lead to so many other issues as well.
We are not talking about being “overweight” here. We are talking “obese.” and the growing issue of Childhood Obesity is a bit shocking: From 2015/16 Stats: A national childhood obesity rate “averages” 18.5%. The rate varies among different age groups and rises as children get older: 13.9% of 2- to 5-year-olds, 18.4% of 6- to 11-year-olds and 20.6% of 12- to 19-year-olds have obesity. (source)
And…….. Obese children are more likely to develop a variety of health problems as adults – such as: cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance (often an early sign of impending diabetes), musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis – a highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints), some cancers and various disabilities.
Besides that we also have other childhood health issues on the rise. Food allergies is one and many popular types of sweets contain peanut and other allergens. Many kids have Dye sensitivities, and its nearly impossible to avoid them in the majority of candies.
Sadly the days when you could bake a batch of homemade goodies that might be a lot healthier – are gone. And you can’t blame parents for being hesitant to let their kids eat anything that is not commercially packaged. Thankfully, we have a lot more healthy and still YUMMY options these days.
Here is a few ideas that are far healthier choices than typical candy.
Cereal bars can be a good choice. Not the heavily sweetened ones but those made with whole grain and fruit. The ingredient label can help us make a good choice.
Fruit Leathers (the natural kind). You can buy them in bulk for a great price and you may find they taste even better than the fruit candies.
Trail Mix with dark chocolate chips can make a yummy treat with a healthy dose of nuts and raisins.
Granola Bars with chocolate chips is another idea. All kinds of good stuff in there but still sweet. You can even find them organic.
Fruit Yogurt can be a taste substitute. Low sugar of course. They get a taste treat that is also giving the kids some potassium and B vitamins along with a nice dose of probiotics. The probotics will come in handy when they start eating all that candy later. Be sure to keep them in a cooler by the door.
Lara’bars may not be something you have heard of but they are nearly all organic. We eat them all the time and I order them in by the box full to save $$. There are a lot of tasty varieties.
Dark Chocolate Covered Raisins is another idea that is a bet better than the typical candies.
If You’re Going to Hand Out Candy – Consider organic!
Take a look at YumEarth Organic Lollipops. They are gluten free, soy free, fat free, dairy free, peanut free, and have no artificial dyes or colors. You can get 40 lollipops for around 6 bucks.
Mini Chocolate Chips Snack Pack by Enjoy Life offers a dozen bags for under six bucks and The only ingredients here are organic cane sugar, unsweetened chocolate, and cocoa butter.
Does It Have To Be Candy? Nooooo
Think of all the small, inexpensive things that kids need, can have fun with, or just like to collect. BUBBLE WAND, coloring books, pens, decorative pencils, small rubber balls, packs of rubber bands, STICKERS, key chain, glow sticks, marbles, little mini notebooks. I bet you can think of even more.
We live in a tiny little town and generally have 2 or 3 kids stop by. With that few – we usually hand out dollar bills. There are a few more kids than that here but most opt to travel 10 miles up the road to a bigger town where they can gather a lot more goodies.
I hope this article, not only encouraged you to try something different, but encouraged you to share this with others in hopes of even more people making this small change that can have a little impact on our kiddies health.
If you go to the resource library you will find trail mix and granola bar recipes to make at home .. There is a lot of other recipes and other items in there as well
Linda Carlson – Certified Nutrition & Wellness Counselor (retired) with 25+ years background.