Are Halloween healthy alternatives a ‘trick’ or a ‘treat’?…

Today’s guest blogger says ‘hi’ from the other side of the I AM world, residing in beautiful Woodlands, Texas.

Lauren Lodder and I have 2 things in common, we’re both fit-mums and her location can be connected with my soon to be last name. The I AM office LOVES connecting globally! Getting a sneaky peek into how folks are getting their ‘health on’, in other parts of the big beautiful world, inspires us to keep our healthy lifestyle habits from hitting the snooze button.

Here are Lauren’s insanely clever tips on how to trick-or-treat the healthy way this year…

momandgirlsThe sweltering days of summer have passed and suddenly every store abounds with pumpkins and witches and goblins and all of the staple accouterments of this spookiest of months.

On the one hand, as a mother of two babes under four, I am completely overwhelmed by the mere mention of October: the parties, the costumes, the pumpkin patches, and the endless Halloween parades in and around town. On the other hand, my wistful nostalgia for bygone Halloweens—and the joy I see in my children’s eyes as they, too, experience these time-honored traditions—makes even the most stressful moments worthwhile. And, really, when else will I have an excuse to dress my darlings in butterfly and poodle costumes? Their adorableness is irresistible.

But, with the holiday comes the candy, the endless aisles of colorful and assorted candy that beckon my children every time we leave the grocery store. It’s so unfair—to them and, more importantly, to me—because I must explain to my children yet again that we do not eat candy, but, hey, here’s a super delicious and naturally sweet apple. You’re welcome. You can imagine the kind of reaction I get.

I made the decision a few years ago that I would neither participate nor allow my children to participate in the candy-giving, candy-consuming part of the festivities. I will spare you my diatribe on the dangers of calorically dense sweets and just say that we have found loads of other creative options for our children and neighborhood trick-or-treaters:

1) Sugar-free juice boxes: These are a great option for thirsty kids who have been running around all evening and need a moment to cool their heels and hydrate. Be careful, though, because some juice boxes contain as many additives as candy-bars.  If healthy juice boxes aren’t available, water bottles are equally healthful and popular. Parents usually ask for a “treat” themselves so be sure to fully stock your pantries.

2) Stickers and press-on tattoos: You can buy them theme specific; or, if you are absolutely desperate and procrastinated your visit to the supermarket, cut up whatever stickers your children have littered around the house. Trick-or-treaters don’t give two figs whether they receive a goblin sticker or a Sophia the First sticker; they are just thrilled to have some variety in their baskets.

3) Plastic jewelry: Kids love dress up and will sport Halloween jewelry long after the holiday is over. You can purchase spider rings and glow-in-the-dark bracelets at virtually any grocery or party themed store. Last year, we bought flashlight necklaces for our trick-or-treaters in an effort to keep our neighborhood kids both safe and healthy, and the necklaces were a monster hit. (No pun intended.)

4) Erasers, pencils (or other school supplies): The best part about handing out school supplies, aside from everything, is the fact that they will get used. What is better than contributing to Halloween festivities in the community and promoting the academic well being of students? As a teacher, my answer to this question is absolutely nothing.

5) Fruit snacks: Raisins and dried cranberries offer trick-or-treaters a healthy, nut-free, gluten free treat and the convenient packaging ensures that any kid, including my one-year-old, can rip open a box and enjoy. What’s more, they don’t melt and won’t leave a sticky, chocolaty mess all over someone’s kiddo. There is nothing worse than sewing a beautiful costume only to see it ravaged by soiled, little candy hands.

6) Glow sticks: These are not only fun to play with, but they are great for kids to carry around during the evening hours. It offers a bit of light that can guide their paths as they go from house to house. Plus, it is one more way parents can identify their kids and thus keep them safe after dusk.

7) Money: No one is suggesting that you pass out dollar bills to trick-or-treaters, but why not give them the cents you would have spent on their candies. 5 cents means a lot to a 5-year-old and means even more to his or her parents who will not have to endure the ravings of a kid in the throes of a sugar high.

8) Dark chocolate: Unsweetened, dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants and can lower the risk of heart disease. For this reason, I encourage my children to have a square of dark chocolate every day—preferably in the morning since it does contain traces of caffeine. This treat will allow you to participate in the candy-giving part of the holiday, without contributing to the unhealthy part of the holiday.

As you are picking up your treats from the grocery store, remember that there are alternatives to the sugary treats conveniently located at the entrances and exits. Why not make Halloween a safe, healthy, fun day for everyone.

[Passionate about Health and Fitness? Be a guest blogger on I AM Magazine! Share your tips and tricks for living a healthy, happy, fit life! Email iammagazine@live.com.au ]

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