Yes, this week ends with Halloween, and while it is celebrated throughout the United States with creative costumes, parties and parades, a big part of the tradition centers around “Trick or Treating” and large bags full of super sugary candy, specially packaged for this annual event. While we want our children to enjoy the festivities and not feel left out, there are some things we can do to control the Halloween candy-mania offering fun, healthier alternatives. It is also very important to determine the length of time your children can go trick or treating to limit the amount of candy that they will receive. Halloween is a one-day holiday and we recommend that the candy received be eaten on Halloween day only. Having a plan and sticking to it will ensure success! Also, drinking plenty of water and brushing teeth immediately after candy consumption is very important.
Even though many parents do their part throughout the year limiting soda and sweets intake, and promoting more nutritious eating, we ought not abandon that philosophy at Halloween.
Park View's Point of View
At Park View Pediatric Dentistry we always promote fun and enjoyment, but we are also big on oral health education and creating awareness on how nutrition affects the teeth at all times of the year. Many of our parents ask us for a few pointers during Halloween time—especially on what types of fun candy alternatives they can serve.
Here are some of our favorite, super simple healthy Halloween snacks:
1. Frozen Boo-nanas. Peel a bunch of bananas and cut in half. Insert a wooden popsicle stick on the flat end of each half. Use raisins or cheerios (or a combo of both) for the eyes and mouth. Freeze on a baking sheet.
2. Tange-o-lanterns. This is a nice refreshing Halloween desert. Peel a handful of seedless tangerines. Insert pieces of celery sticks in top for the stem. Again, raisins can be used to embed for eyes.
3. Spider Snacks. Take your favorite round crackers and spread with a healthy nut butter or soft cheese spread. Cover with another cracker and insert thin pretzel sticks on each side for legs. “Glue” on olive slices for eyes with your filling and see how this snack seems to just crawl away!
4. Monster Mouths. Core and quarter an apple. Remove a wedge from the skin side of each quarter to form an opened mouth. Insert variously shapes and sizes of slivered almonds for teeth.
5. Sand-witches. Or ghosts or bats! Use your favorites Halloween cookie cutters to make festive sandwiches out of whole grain bread and healthy fillings, like natural nut butters or hummus.
6. Creepy Crudité. Have fun with this one! Use a small bowl of your favorite healthy dip with olives for eyes as the head of your “skeleton”. Throw in a few leafy greens for hair. Assemble a wide variety of raw vegetables like the skeleton’s body, using pepper slices as ribs, cucumber slices and the spice and celery and carrot sticks as the arm and leg bones. Sliced mushrooms work nicely for the hip area, or for joints! Be creative and watch those veggies mysteriously disappear!
Also, take part in our Halloween Buy Back Program. For every large zip-locked bag of Halloween Candy that you bring us by Friday, November 7th, your child will receive one dollar. The candy will then be packed up and sent overseas as a sweet gesture for our troops!
Happy Healthy Halloween!
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Park View Pediatric Dentistry