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October 16, 2012

How to have a healthier, happy Halloween season

The Hood Answer Mom, Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.

Halloween is more than a single night of trick-or-treating. The "Halloween season" is here.  Make your family's life healthier before, during, and after October 31st with these simple stategies.

Before Halloween:

• Children will be excited as they anticipate the big night and attend Halloween parties. Every day, help kids to eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly to help keep their energy levels steady.

• Wait as long as possible to purchase Halloween candy. Once the candy is in the house, it's harder for you and your kids to keep from breaking into the bags and eating more than you should.

• At Halloween parties, give out mini water bottles, baked chips, popcorn, pretzels, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sugar-free gum, Play-doh, sidewalk chalk, bubble mix, cool erasers, key chains, crayons, pencils, and stickers instead of candy.

The day of Halloween:

• Serve your child a simple supper with adequate protein from foods such as chicken, meat, dairy, and eggs. If your child is too excited to eat a meal, offer him a balanced snack before the trick or treating begins. Eating dinner or a snack blunts the effects of sugar from the candy that kids will surely have once trick-or-treating is over.

• Stay hydrated. All that walking can make you and your child thirsty.  When you get home, and before sorting through the day's candy take, sip Hood Lowfat Chocolate Milk , served cold or warmed in the microwave. Chocolate milk supplies protein and fluid to fill you up and to help head off overeating Halloween candy.

After Halloween:

Most kids come home with more than their share of Halloween candy.  Try these tricks to limit candy consumption.

• Stash it.  Keep candy out of sight and dole it out daily in small amounts.  Freeze candy bars to keep them fresher.

• Give away some candy.  Your local senior center or food pantry may take Halloween candy donations.

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D., is a writer, nutrition consultant, and mother of three. She is the author of several books, including MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy . Ward is also a contributing writer for Muscle & Fitness Hers and Men's Fitness magazines.

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