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Video: Have a healthy Halloween for kids

TODAY
updated 9/18/2008 12:39:54 PM ET 2008-09-18T16:39:54

Did you buy a dozen super-sized bags of candy in anticipation of Halloween ghouls and ghosts trick-or-treating? And then your own little ones come home with enough candy to keep that superstore stocked! What do you do besides serve it for dinner? “Today” nutritionist Joy Bauer has some answers.

Ghosts, goblins, witches and candy! While enjoying a few sweet treats can be fun, the amount of sugar our kids consume on October 31 can be downright mind boggling.

Choose the best treats for the neighborhood

  • The smaller, the better. Look for candy that’s labeled as “fun size” or “mini.”
  • Select candy that takes a while to eat like lollipops or sucking candies.
  • Buy value packs of sugarless gum.
  • Take advantage of the portion control craze and hand out 100-calorie snack packs. (Look for their super cartons at warehouse stores to save money.)
  • Stock up on 100% fruit chews.
  • Select dark chocolate candy options. The darker the chocolate, the more antioxidants.
  • Avoid candy completely; give out baseball cards, wacky packs, glow stick bracelets and necklaces.

Managing your own kid’s sugar rush
Feed them real food first!Don’t send kids out trick-or-treating hungry. Make sure they have a full dinner before they take off on their journey. The hungrier they are, the more candy they will eat en route.

Get rid of additional sugar. Avoid all unnecessary sugar on the day of Halloween. Omit soda, fruit drinks, sugar cereals and pancake syrup since you know they’ll be eating candy.

Get them exercising! Sneak in some extra exercise before they hit the road with a “Monster Mash” freeze dance. Play fun Halloween songs, invite their friends and encourage lots of dancing. And most importantly, make sure your kids walk and walk and walk as they trick-or-treat.

Everything in moderation: Allow your children to have a few pieces of candy when they get home from trick-or-treating (I allow my own kids five small pieces). You may also want to have them count out ten extra favorites to save for the following few days. Then establish a system, perhaps one piece with their lunch and one after dinner.

Don’t let kids keep their candy stashes in their rooms. Storing the loot in the kitchen will allow for less unsupervised temptation.

If you do have leftovers, get rid of it on November 1.Donate to a local charity or church. Bring it into work — leave extra treats in your office kitchen or bring to a team meeting. Give to your doorman if you live in an apartment. Offer leftovers to friends or neighbors. Dump it, and don’t feel guilty. 

For more information on healthy eating, visit Joy Bauer’s web site at www.joybauernutrition.com.

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints

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