Halloween brings out all kinds of fun, from dressing up in costumes to eating sweet treats. But those treats can play a trick on your kids by filling their tummies with unhealthy food and creating bad habits. If you need help finding healthy substitutes for Halloween treats, Shape Your Future, a health awareness program of the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, has many ideas.
“Most candy is packed with tons of unhealthy sugar. Instead of candy for trick-or-treaters, why not provide a healthy alternative,” said Sjonna Paulson, Director of Health Communication, Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust. “Mini water bottles, plain nuts or non-edible treats like toys are great choices for making sure kids have healthy options in their Halloween bags.”
Paulson said remembering to fill half our plates with fruits and veggies and staying active is always important, but this time of year it can be easily overlooked.
“There are plenty of healthy alternatives to sugary candy and sweets during Halloween season – and they’re easy too! Shape Your Future provides healthy Halloween snacks like Clementine Pumpkins and a spooky Pumpkin-shaped Vegetable Tray. Trick-or-treating with your kids is a great way to get 60 minutes of physical activity by walking the neighborhood.”
Teaching your child to make good food choices, especially when your child is at school without you guiding them, is something to consider as well. When you create healthy habits at home, the choice will be easier for your child at school.
“It’s all about balance. Make sure your child knows why it’s important to make healthy choices and show them what that looks like. Talk to them about eating fruits and vegetables when you’re cooking and eating together as a family. Let them try new things. That way when they are presented with options, they are encouraged to make the healthy choice,” Paulson explained.
Getting your child involved in cooking can make food and family time more exciting. When a child participates in helping make a meal and take ownership in it, it can change their perspective on new foods.
“Each month, Shape Your Future releases a new theme of recipes and activities that kids can participate in. October is Safari Month! Families can follow the recipe to create delicious Jungle Bush Broccoli Tots or go on the Safari Scavenger Hunt to reach 60 minutes of physical activity,” Paulson said.
If you can’t commit to cooking big meals every evening for your family, Paulson said Shape Your Future has terrific ideas for those with busy schedules too.
“As a mom, I know how busy fall can get between school starting and all the activities, practices and events that occur week to week. It can be easy to fall into the habit of grabbing dinner from a drive-thru or letting the family veg out in front of the TV after a long week. However, making healthy meals and getting some kind of daily physical activity doesn’t have to be difficult. Shape Your Future provides busy moms with tips and ideas for healthy recipes in under 20 minutes.”
Not wanting to give up on some of your favorite foods is not out of the question either. Paulson said making a few healthy swaps like Greek yogurt over sour cream or whole grain over white bread, can improve a diet. Shape Your Future has more tips to try with these swaps.
And when it’s too cold to get outside to exercise, but you know your child still needs to get those wiggles out, there are ways to stay active in the cooler months.
“Kids need 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Adults need 30 minutes. Whether it’s getting out of the house and taking a few extra laps around the mall or at the office or discovering ways you can use household items to stay active, Paulson said, “You can always incorporate physical activity into your daily tasks like during chores or your commute to work!"
Find More Ideas Online
- Shape Your Future’s website explains the importance of exercise: Moving for 30 minutes every day helps you balance your weight, improve your mood and strengthen your immune system. It can even help you quit smoking. Plus, it reduces your risk for chronic diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.
- Here are great examples of how to sneak physical activity in every day.
- Looking for healthy snacks for game day gatherings? Shape Your Future has excellent ideas for this too: Healthy Cookies, Potato Skins and Baked Onion Rings
The Shape Your Future campaign is dedicated to improving Oklahoma’s health and future through nutrition, fitness education and tobacco-free lifestyles. Shape Your Future encourages parents, caregivers, children and all Oklahomans to eat better, move more and be tobacco free.