Health

Yes, you can have your Halloween candy and eat it, too

Oct. 30, 2013 at 5:03 PM ET

Video: Jenna and Hoda join NBC News diet and nutrition Madelyn Fernstrom for a fun game that also provides some nutritional tips for Halloween.

Candy makes most kids smile on Halloween, but some adults are conflicted about handing out unhealthy treats. 

Sure, you can swap out chocolate bars with dried fruit or even non-edible treats such as pencils or stickers, but it is possible to make candy a smart choice.

The key is moderation. By tuning in to the size of your treat, as well as the amount of sugar and fat in a serving, candy most definitely can be part of your Halloween celebration if you choose.

Here are a few guidelines for giving out Halloween treats:

Sharing Halloween Candy, trick or treat, costumes, kids, children, october, home
Ryan Mcvay / Getty Images
What should you do with all that candy once trick-or-treating is over? Some parents have a candy swap and allow their child to exchange candy for a non-food item such as a game, iTunes or art supplies of their child’s choice.

Look for “fun size” versions of your favorite candy. 
If you think you might end up snacking on leftovers after Halloween night, try buying "fun size" versions of your favorite candy. It’s really tough to eat only half of a full-size chocolate bar, but a mini-version solves the problem. Then you’ll be able to have the satisfaction of eating the whole thing.  

Make it fun for your mouth.
Think about the most pleasing textures for your mouth, from smooth and creamy to a burst of sweetness. For a long-lasting treat, try lollipops.

Hand out other snack-size treats.
If you’re not a candy lover, consider handing out treats such as granola bars, mini-bags of pretzels, chips or popcorn, and various fruit rolls. While these are not intended to be nutritional powerhouses, these kinds of options have the taste kids love, with fewer grams of sugar, fat and calories for a modest serving.

Get the candy out of the house.
It's a parent's dilemma: What should you do with all that candy once trick-or-treating is over? Some parents have a candy swap and allow their child to exchange candy for a non-food item such as a game, iTunes or art supplies of their child’s choice. The wrapped candy can be donated to a charity of your choice.

Be sure to brush.
Halloween is a great time to replace your child’s toothbrush. You'll feel better if your child gives their teeth a thorough brushing after eating a treat, and it's a positive long-term health habit to support. 

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