Trick or Treat: Healthy Tips for Halloween


Halloween is a great time to introduce healthy holiday practices. Chances are there will be candy and sweet treats popping up at school and at home. Use this opportunity to practice moderation with your family.

How to Balance Health and Holiday Festivities

1. Create a healthy meal tradition. For example, why not try a pumpkin chili or curry served in a carved-out pumpkin? Make holiday meal preparation a family affair by including your children in the cooking process. Eat your healthy meal together before heading out for trick or treating or to a Halloween party. If you fill up on healthy food, you’ll be less tempted to dive into less healthy items later.

2. Have treats, but try to limit them to one a day. Stick to your favorites! Here are a few fun ways to get your family onboard:

  • Have your children separate their candy by the kinds they like the most. Offer them one choice per day. Get rid of any candy that wasn’t voted a favorite.
  • Use candy as a bartering system. Allow your child the option to use their candy as currency to buy a prize. For example: 15 pieces of candy buys a coloring book or 8 ounces of candy buys a soccer ball. (Make sure the prize is more tempting than the candy.)

5 Smarter Candy Choices

The following choices are better than most when it comes to sweet treats.

  • Peanut or almond M&M’s: The healthy fat in the nuts will slow the release of sugar, helping prevent blood sugar spikes.
  • Pumpkin peeps: One peep is only 16 calories, but it’s almost all sugar. Since the concentration of sugar is high, limit yourself to no more than five peeps.
  • Dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cacao or more, so you get all those valuable antioxidants.
  • Charms Blow Pops or Jolly Ranchers: These will satisfy your sweet tooth and also keep you busy longer than chewy candies.
  • Smarties: Only 25 calories in one roll, but be careful not to down too many rolls.

Stock Up On Healthy Snacks

Make sure you have a defense of healthy food items to balance out the sweet treats. Try these easy and healthy snack ideas:

  • Veggies and hummus.
  • Half a banana with dark chocolate chip eyes.
  • Apple slices with apple pie spice and almond butter.
  • Granola mixed with dark chocolate chips and almonds.
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds and a Fuyu persimmon.
  • Nut butter and whole-grain crackers.

As always, the point is moderation. Sweets are OK every once in awhile and on special occasions. Halloween is a great opportunity to teach the kids to be intentional about what they put in their bodies.

This post was first published on Oct 23, 2013; it was last updated on October 6, 2017.

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