Halloween candy by the bagful abounds on supermarket shelves at this time of year. While kids love the abundance of sweets, parents concerned about their kids’ candy intake may wonder how they can reduce the amount their kids consume.
We put together the following suggestions for healthier alternatives to Halloween candy that your kids—and the neighborhood trick-or-treaters—will actually enjoy.
Nonedible gifts and toys
Halloween treats don’t always have to be edible. In fact, Dr. Dina Sanchez, DDS, owner of Roland Park Orthodontics and clinical professor for orthodontics at the University of Maryland and diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, says stickers, keychains, glow rings and other toys are infinitely appealing to kids.
At Roland Park Orthodontics, Sanchez organizes a Halloween candy buyback program for patients who are with her practice. Kids get cash for giving up their candy, which Sanchez donates to U.S. service members. Parents can set up a similar candy buyback program in their families, she says. In exchange for giving up some of the candy, kids can get cash or a voucher toward purchasing something they want.
Flavored water and fruit drink pouches for kids
While you usually don’t think about Halloween treats being in liquid form, flavored water and fruit drink pouches make excellent additions to the trick-or-treat bags. Keep your little trick-or-treaters hydrated with convenient, shatter-proof fruit and flavored water drink packages available in the juice aisle of your supermarket.
Hint Kids Water is one of the newest drinks on the market. This boxed water product comes in 6.75-ounce boxes in
flavors such as apple, blackberry, cherry and watermelon. According to the
drinkhint.com website, the flavored water doesn’t contain sugar or artificial sweeteners, and it’s vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO certified.
Dr. Maxine Clark, DDS, of Maryland Orthodontic Specialists, suggests fruits such as fresh autumn apples as alternatives to candy. Fresh fruits contain many nutrients and require a good amount of chewing, which helps clean the surfaces of teeth.
Check your supermarket for organic fruit snacks, such as Annie’s Homegrown, in fun shapes. Look at the labels on the snack food packaging to help you select a low-sugar variety for your kids.
When their children’s snack cravings strike, moms often reach for chewy, healthy granola bars. Available in assorted brands and flavors, granola bars are welcome treats in lunch bags and trick-or-treat totes alike.
To keep your granola bar selection on the healthy side, read product labels carefully. Look at how much sugar, how many calories and how much fiber and protein the bars contain before you make your purchase.
Individual serving sizes of applesauce
Busy moms on the go practically swear by individual serving sizes of applesauce for after-school snacks. The natural sugars present in apples make applesauce a natural choice for a sweet, healthy food choice that most kids—even the pickiest eaters—will appreciate.
To add further appeal to applesauce for trick-or-treating, purchase individually wrapped spoons in crazy colors to tie in with the Halloween theme.
Snack bags containing crackers and pretzels
Snack bags containing crackers and pretzels make welcome additions to trick-or-treating loot bags. Their convenient individual serving-size packages are ideal for busy moms and dads who need a last-minute handout for trick-or-treating.
What are the ghouls to do when there’s territory to cover on trick-or-treat night? Individually wrapped packages of trail mix pack plenty of proteins into single-serve parcels. You’ll find several brands that offer trail mix with various ingredients including peanuts, raisins, almonds, cashews, granola bits and some chocolate-covered candies.
Make your trail mix pick even healthier by opting for low-sodium brands.
While you may not be able to eliminate all of the candy from your kids’ Halloween celebrations, you can make some clever substitutions to curb the sugar intake.
A word about handing out homemade treats
for trick-or-treating …
Gone are the days when parents could prepare batches of homemade treats to give out to trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. Today, most parents are hesitant to let their kids enjoy anything that’s not individually wrapped due to child safety concerns.
Save your homemade treats wrapped up decoratively as ghosts and monsters for your kids and other family members to enjoy. Choose individually portioned and wrapped treats to distribute to the trick-or-treaters.