Americans will spend about $2.1 billion on about 600 million pounds of candy for Halloween, making it the number one holiday for candy sales. "Candy in moderation for any child is certainly acceptable, so Halloween by itself isn't the issue when it comes to the health of our youth," explains Gundersen Lutheran – Decorah Clinic dietician Brigitte Weymiller. "But keep in mind that following Halloween is a string of five more months of holidays that are also known for their "goodies" including Christmas, Valentine's Day and Easter."
Weymiller offers these ideas for you to consider as Halloween gifts:
Non-food choices: erasers, pencils/pens, crayons, markers, bookmarks, whistles, bouncy balls, glow-in-the-dark items, "message" wrist bands, stickers, toothbrushes, tattoos small puzzle books, Play-Dough and silly putty
Healthier food choices: popcorn, low fat granola bars, 100% juice boxes, raisins /craisins, animal crackers, hot cocoa packets, pumpkin seeds, flavored water packets, trail mix (careful with nuts), Rice Krispie® treats, baked potato chips, low fat snack crackers
Healthier Candy choices: Three Musketeer bar, jelly beans, fruit snacks, lollipops, gummy bears, sweet tarts, candy corn, sugar free gum and licorice
Some other things to keep in mind for Halloween –
• Be sure children eat a balanced meal before going out trick-or-treating so they are less likely to overeat on the candy.
• Once you are back home, set limits with your kids on how much candy is allowed each day.
• If you are handing out Halloween candy and are trying to eat healthy, try to purchase candy that you don't like or are less likely to be tempted with.
• Try to dispose of leftover candy quickly - even if it means throwing it away. It may feel wasteful, but at least it won't make your waist full!