American Heart Association offers tips on having a healthier Halloween
SACRAMENTO – Lions and tigers and bears (and sugar), oh my! Halloween to most children means candy, a lot of candy. With childhood obesity on the rise in the United States, what can families do to stay healthy amongst the candy corn, chocolate nougat bars and gummy bears? Healthy and Halloween aren’t usually two words that are seen together, but there are good and easy alternatives that will make Halloween a little less scary for your family’s health.
Here are a few recommendations from the American Heart Association:
- Think about a healthier version of treats to give out at your house: Mini boxes of raisins, 100% juice juice-boxes, snack-sized pretzels, pre-packaged trail mixes, pre-packaged dried fruits, crayons, stickers, silly bands, tooth brushes, bubbles, plastic spiders, or coupons to local frozen yogurt stores
- Make trick-or-treating a workout: Set a goal of how many houses you will walk to or wear pedometers and have healthy prizes for the person who has the most steps
- Find the right-sized collection bag for your child and steer clear of the pillowcase method
“Eating a nutritious and wholesome meal before your family heads out for trick-or-treating is a good idea. They will less likely fill up on empty calorie foods and binge on their candy loot,” said Dr. Diane Sobkowicz, Cardiologist with Sutter Heart & Vascular Institute and co-director of the Sutter Women’s Heart Program. Sutter Heart & Vascular Institute is the proud Go Red For Women Cause sponsor in Sacramento. “When the trick-or-treating is done, allow your child to have some candy in moderation and pick out enough candy for one piece a day for five days and put those in the fridge. Be sure to pair it with a healthy snack like a piece of fruit or some nuts.”
According to the American Heart Association, nearly one in three American kids and teens are overweight or obese, triple the rate in 1963. But obesity can be prevented and it doesn’t take high-tech treatments or cutting-edge medications. The solution begins and ends with daily decisions we make, like limiting candy consumption.
“Among children today, obesity is causing a broad range of health problems that previously weren’t seen until adulthood. These include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels,” said Dr. Sobkowicz. “There are also psychological effects. Obese children are more prone to low self-esteem, negative body image and depression.”
For more information about how you and your family can learn to eat better and get more active, visit www.heart.org/healthierkids.
Disclosure: Article submitted by the Sacramento division of the American Heart Association.