Elizabeth S. Reames | 10/16/2008 7:09:56 PM
When asked what Halloween means, kids usually put candy at the top of their list before goblins or costumes. Even so, nutrition can play a role on Halloween, according to LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.
First, make sure children eat before going out so they don’t fill up on sweets, the nutritionist advises. Cut bread in pumpkin shapes, add lean meat, chicken or turkey and serve with a glass of low-fat milk and sliced fresh fruit.
After trick or treating, share your child’s excitement by letting him or her show you the bag of treats. Inspect all treats to make sure none have been opened or tampered with.
Have the kids separate their goodies into groups that are similar in ingredients or color of wrapper. Make a game of eating just one from each type of goodie, rather than the whole bag.
Youngsters usually collect enough goodies to last two or three weeks. Divide the treats into one-week portions, place in bags and store for your child to enjoy one or two pieces for snacks or with meals in the weeks ahead.
Remind the kids to brush their teeth or at least rinse their mouth thoroughly with water after eating sweets, especially sticky sweets, to help prevent tooth decay.
Adults may need some discipline, too, Reames says. Buy candy at the last minute to avoid tempting yourself and other family members. Also, buy less candy than what you think you need, and don't buy the kind you crave.
If your child offers you some of her candy, don't waste your calories. Choose the dark chocolate pieces and save it for your special treat. Kids usually don't like dark chocolate anyway.
Take leftover candy to work, place it by the coffee pot and watch it vanish.
Work off the extra calories by walking instead of driving while the kids trick-or-treat. Enjoy the decorations and the children’s costumes.
For related nutrition topics, click on the Food and Health link on the LSU AgCenter home page at www.lsuagcenter.com. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.