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5 Tips to Treat Kids, Not Trick Them & Have a Healthier Halloween
by Connie Bennett, C.H.H.C.

Halloween frightens me.

Not because of ghosts, goblins or ghouls - or even the costumed monsters, witches and pirates.

What's spooky about the holiday is that it's a mandatory "Sugar Overload Day."

I'm dismayed that, despite soaring rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes among kids, on Halloween it's an accepted tradition to send your and your neighbors' kids into sugar shock.

But, let's face it, when kids come knocking on your door to playfully trick-or-treat, you're actually tricking them, not treating them, by giving them candies galore to gobble.

Around Halloween, people tend to completely forget and ignore the fact that too much sugar could spell downright scary news for your children's health.

Even more spooky: The average child scarfs down between 20 to 50 teaspoons of sugar and hundreds of calories on that one night alone!

But research suggests that cutting back on sugar could make your kids more energetic, better spirits, focus better, do better in school, lose weight, score better grades and get along better with their peers.

So why give in to the accepted sugar-gorging way of celebrating? Instead, I invite you to help your children and your neighbors' kids to observe Halloween in a safer, healthy way.

Here are 5 tips to create a healthier Halloween.

  1. First off, don't give trick-or-treaters candies where sugar or high fructose corn syrup is the first, second and third ingredient on the label. Also steer clear of candies with hydrogenated fats. All of these are dead giveaways that what you're contemplating passing out has zip in the way of nutritional value. What's more, all that sugar will send blood sugar levels soaring.

  2. Offer costumed kids small, pre-packaged boxes of raisins, non-sugary fruit leather, and packets of cheese, almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, pistachios or shelled sunflower seeds. (Make sure you tell the child not to eat any of these foods if they have particular allergies.)

  3. Think about passing out tiny packages of dark chocolate - of course, the less sugar, the better. (As course, research shows that dark chocolate has many anti-oxidant properties.)

  4. Hand out small bottles of water. The trick-or-treaters need to stay hydrated.

  5. Bring healthy fun to children's Halloween by giving out non-edible treats and toys.

Giving out party favors is becoming trendy in parts of country, as evidenced by the variety of fun doodads and gizmos you can find at 99 cent stores across the country and also at www.OrientalTrading.com.

Children will be delighted with getting toys instead of candies, claims Marlene B. Schwartz, Ph.D., deputy director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University.

Dr. Schwartz-who's been handing out toys for the past five years at her home near New Haven, Connecticut---has had virtually no complaints. OK, only one.

"Only about one child of out of 500 trick-or-treaters ever wanted candy instead of toys," says Dr. Schwartz, who was principal investigator for a study, which found that half of 3- to 14-year-old trick-or-treaters preferred these non-sugary favors over candies.

Here are 10 examples of non-sugary treats you could pass out on Halloween:

  1. Glow-in-the-dark insects
  2. Spooky fingers
  3. Halloween-themed stickers or pencils
  4. Rubber worms, creepy fingers
  5. Party favors such as engine whistles, key chains, pen, and stickers.
  6. Action figures
  7. Kazoos and whistles
  8. Baseball cards
  9. Plastic animals
  10. Spin tops

So, join in the Halloween fun. Help to reclaim the holiday by showing that kids can trick-or-treat without candy. Besides, Dr. Schwartz adds, "it can be just as fun and exciting."

About the Author:
Connie Bennett, M.S.J., C.H.H.C. is author of SUGAR SHOCK! (Berkley Books). Connie is an expert, speaker, frequent TV and radio show guest ("CBS News Sunday Morning," "Oprah & Friends Radio," etc.), and certified holistic health counselor. She runs the popular SUGAR SHOCK! Blog (www.SugarShockBlog.com); hosts the Stop SUGAR SHOCK! Radio Show; and offers a Stop SUGAR SHOCK! Inner Circle Membership Program. Connie also is an experienced journalist and columnist, who has been widely published (The Los Angeles Times, TV Guide, eDiets.com, etc.) To learn if you've been brainwashed to become a sugar addict, take the SUGAR SHOCK! Quiz at www.SugarShockBlog.com.

You may reprint this article, but please include the description above, as well as the following credit information: Copyright 2007. Connie Bennett, www.SugarShockBlog.com.

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