The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Health & Fitness

October 21, 2012

Halloween treats don’t have to become a health scare

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Gonzalez suggests cutting down the number of houses kids hit on Halloween night. Beyond that, parents — believe it or not — can control how much candy their kids consume.

In fact, you’d be surprised how little candy she says is healthful for kids.

“A maximum of one piece a day is healthy,” she said.

On the other end, there are plenty of healthful options now for folks wishing to hand out candy that’s not pure sugar. There are fruit snacks available now that are made from 100 percent fruit juice. Gold fish crackers and granola bars are better snack options.

Beyond candy, Gonzalez suggests getting inexpensive toys from the dollar store to hand out.

After the big night, if you’ve allowed for the collection of candy, be careful how available that candy is. A free-for-all is not a good idea. Put limits on the candy.

Another idea: When your kids have collected copious amounts of candy, surreptitious disposal of fistfuls of bite-sized Snickers, Skittles and Tootsie Rolls is an easy way to limit overall candy intake.

When all else fails, try the technology angle.

The ADA is teaming with a ton of dentists to give out, instead of candy, coupons redeemable for free copies of the video game Plants Vs. Zombies. The popular game, played by an estimated 120 million people so far, is available via download to a PC.

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