2014 Update & New Ideas Below!
Halloween can and should be enjoyable for both kids and adults. The scary and spooky activities are a fun American tradition, but we shouldn’t have to be scared about our health at the same time! If you’ve ever stumbled to my blog before, you have seen I really believe everything we eat should have a purpose and function in the body – and it should all come from whole foods. That being said, at holidays it is okay to include a few treats, we just need to be smart about them. A couple of things to consider are 1) moderation and 2) ingredients.
Indulging in moderation is key. What is moderation though? It can mean different things to different people. Someone they may think it means having cake once a week instead of every night after dinner! To me it is having cake only at family birthdays, weddings and other special occasions. Our diet should be made up of as many healthful whole foods as possible, with those treats being a once in a while addition.
Ingredients are of a major concern to me and to many parents when holidays like Halloween pop up. Trick-or-treating is a fun tradition and actually encourages activity as kids walk from door to door – again though, what they come home with can be scary! When the aisles at CVS and Target are packed with candy filled with hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, colors and genetically engineered sugar, it can be difficult to choose what you’ll pass out (or have at Halloween parties) wisely. Here are some snacks I have used in the past, will be using this year, and links to a few articles for even more options.
In 2010 I opted to hand out individual pretzel packets and Annie’s brand organic fruit snacks. You can get a 24 pack of the fruit snacks at BJ’s or Costco for about $10 which is much cheaper than other grocery stores. Kids were definitely more apt to grab at those fruit snacks though and we ended up with leftover pretzels that we don’t really enjoy all that much.
In 2011 & 2012, I continued to hand out the fruit snacks but also got packages of Cascadian Farm Organic kids size granola bars.
This year I decided to give kids some different choices. While most seemed to be happy with the snacks above, I did hear a grunt or two. SO now we are trying a few things. Clif kids organic Z bars now come in the “Spooky S’mores” version this time of year so I picked up some of those. I wouldn’t mind having a leftover one before a workout so it works for us too. I also picked up a package of “UNreal” brand snickers type bars. UNreal promises no hydrogenated oils, artificial preservatives or colorings, and no GMO’s. And finally I picked up some Organic lollipops from Trader Joe’s. The big choice comes with the non-food option. While I realize they aren’t very sustainable, I was in Target yesterday picking up some 7th Generation cleaning products, and saw 6 packs of glow bracelets in the dollar bins. I grabbed a bunch and thought this could be a big hit. They’ll be getting candy at every other house, so seeing lit up bracelets while trick-or-treating might be a nice change for them.
(Lollipop picture above from the Amazon.com listing of the product)
While some people have issues with Clif Brand’s lack of organic certification on all products, the Clif founders really do strive to use the best ingredients they can in their products while continuing to make them affordable. The Clif Kids line is all organic so i think these are a great option, especially since they are Halloween themed! They also have a “Monster Mint” version too.
The UNReal brand isn’t taking off as much as I wish it would! I by no means am advocating for people to buy candy frequently, but with how many Reese’s and Hershey bars and Milky Ways are purchased, people could at least be buying a version of those candies that have no major red flag ingredients. A brand I love is Justin’s (their packets of almond butter are lifesavers when I travel) but the products are just too expensive to buy a lot of to hand out! My final treat recommendation is to head over to naturalcandystore.com for any holiday. They even have Fair Trade options!
For Halloween parties, there is no need to include candy at all! There are so many options for fun Halloween snacks and meals that are made from real wholesome and good for you foods. My “Eat Right Kids” board on Pinterest has lots of options. Following the Whole Kids Foundation on Pinterest can show you some good ideas too. This blog, called Listotic, has a great post on snack ideas too from mozzarella stick witches brooms to celery mummy tombs.
Below I have a couple more articles on balancing a healthful lifestyle and fun on Halloween. Remember that your kids will be more inclined to listen and limit their intake if they understand why! It’s never to early to start teaching your kids about nutrition and food. Have a Healthy Holiday!
2014 Healthy Halloween Update:
The glow bracelets last year were a HUGE success. Kids were SO excited when they saw them to get one that I don’t even think they looked at the “unreal” brand and trader joe’s candy options we had. I was really hoping to find more glow bracelets this year at Target but they only had glow sticks in the dollar bin, and only 2 per package. I still think it is a good deal so I grabbed a bunch of packages. I also found target to have several other non-candy options too. I picked up temporary Halloween tattoos as well as Halloween bubbles. Tim thinks the bubbles will be a fail but I always loved them when I was a kid so we will have to wait and see what they like and don’t like this year! In addition, I am having the annie’s fruit snacks again as well as some Justin’s peanut butter cups. I am unable to find the UNreal brand of candy anywhere this year (not that I looked that hard, but CVS & target no longer carry them by us). Comment below if you have any other fun non-candy ideas or have seen other natural and organic options out there!