Lots of healthy alternatives this Halloween, says nutritionist

By Nigel Maxwell
October 31, 2018 - 12:00pm Updated: October 31, 2018 - 1:56pm

With obesity rates on the rise in Saskatchewan, parents face the tough task this Halloween of balancing fun and keeping their children healthy.

Catheryn Abrametz, a public health nutritionist with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, told paNOW there are several simple steps parents can take to minimize health risks. She suggested keeping candy stored in a safe location out of view and also for parents to set limits.

"Set a limit on when and how many candy pieces your child can have each day — maybe one to three is most realistic. And have a healthy meal or snack first and then follow it with the candy," she said.

Abrametz acknowledged Halloween can be a challenging time for parents.

"The average eight to 12-year-old actually brings home approximately seven pounds of candy, so that's about 47 cans of regular pop," she said.

Abrametz said there are some creative ways parents can limit candy intake. She said one approach might be buying back the candy with money or coupons in exchange for fun activities like a day at the park or skating. 

"For younger kids, you can use an idea like a tooth fairy where a switch witch replaces their candy with a toy or something fun," she said.

Another approach suggested by Abrametz is sitting down with your child and dividing the candy into two piles – the favourites and the lesser desired candy. The lesser desired candy can be used to make decorations or crafts at Christmas time.

Abrametz said there are other healthy and fun alternatives to giving out candy such as Halloween pencils or temporary tattoos. She reminded the public some young adults and teenagers may be going to door-to-door this Halloween collecting donations for the food bank as part of the feed-the-need campaign.


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