Make Halloween treats something other than sweets

Linda F. Benedict, Reames, Elizabeth S.

News Release Distributed 10/12/10

Even though children may say getting candy is the most important part of Halloween, research shows that, when asked, they will often prefer toys. And that’s also the preferred choice of nutritionists, according to Beth Reames, LSU AgCenter nutritionist.

Instead of making so much candy available, Reames says choose miniature toys, stickers and nonfood favors in the Halloween section at local stores. Temporary tattoos, bracelets and rings, whistles, pencils, coupons to food establishments or quarters are also welcome treats.

Nonsweet treat suggestions include peanut butter and cracker packages, sugar-free gum, cereal bars, individually wrapped sticks of beef jerky, juice box packages, small packages of dried fruit and packets of instant cocoa mix. Some foods such as nuts and seeds and round or hard candy are not appropriate for small children because they may cause choking.

Some ideas to help children have a nutritious, healthy Halloween include:

– Make sure children eat before going out. Cut bread in pumpkin shapes, add lean meat, chicken or turkey and serve with a glass of low-fat milk and sliced fresh fruit.

– Walk with children while trick-or-treating instead of driving in the car.

– 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.

– Encourage children to separate 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.

– Halloween treat bags usually provide enough goodies for two to 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 for the next weeks.

– Help your child remember to brush his teeth or at least rinse her mouth thoroughly with water after eating sweets, especially sticky sweets, to help prevent tooth decay.

Ideas to help adults cope with Halloween candy include:

– Buy candy at the last minute to avoid tempting yourself and other family members.

– Buy less candy than what you think you need, and don't buy your favorite.

– Take leftover candy to work to share with co-workers.

For additional information about healthful eating, go to and click on Food & Health.

Linda Foster Benedict
1/4/2011 1:13:51 AM
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