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A healthier Halloween Its possible

By Kathy Lopez,2014-11-13 13:12
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A healthier Halloween Its possible

By the U of A Division of Agriculture

    Media Contact: Elizabeth Fortune efortune@uaex.edu 501-671-2120

(480 words)

    A healthier Halloween? It’s possible

    MARION, Ark. Halloween has traditionally been the holiday of high-calorie,

    sickeningly sweet candies and snacks, still, it‟s possible to make those trick-or-treat adventures a

    little healthier, said VeEtta Simmons, Crittenden County extension staff chair with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

    “Children should learn to enjoy Halloween without overindulging,” she said. “If you and your family practice sensible eating habits regularly, then children will known how to make wise food choices when they are tempted to overindulge with unhealthy foods.

    Parents can plan healthier or non-traditional treats to ensure healthy eating habits are practiced, but “this can be a challenge, since the goal of most children on Halloween is to get as much candy as possible,” said Simmons.

    For trick-or-treaters (and their treat givers), there are ways to make things a bit healthier. Sending trick-or-treaters out on a full stomach means they‟re less likely to snack, for example.

    When little ghosts and goblins come knocking, give them something different:

    ; Animal crackers, goldfish crackers or graham crackers

    ; Flavored popcorn-and-nuts combinations, or trail mix

    ; 100-calorie packs of various snack foods

    ; Beef or turkey jerky

    ; Raisins and chocolate-covered raisins

    ; Sugar-free gum or hard candy

    ; Gummy candies made with real fruit juice

    ; Individual juice drinks (100 percent juice)

    Don‟t forget non-food treats, too, like those found in goodie bags.

    Many of these treats are lower in fat and sugar than conventional snacks or candies, but they also provide vitamins, minerals and fiber. “All the calories in „bite-size‟ candies can add

    up,” said Simmons. “For instance, four „bite-size‟ chocolate bars contain 320 calories.”

    Making Halloween treats healthy or non-traditional can help reduce childhood obesity, which continues to increase in the U.S. at an alarming rate. Eating treats in moderation and increasing physical activity is another way to reduce high obesity rates this Halloween.

    What about Halloween-themed parties? Simmons suggested dressing up favorite foods with a festive theme. Some examples:

    ; Ghosts Top a mound of mashed potatoes with two slices of black olive

    positioned near the top for „eyes.‟

    ; Jack-o‟-lantern Burgers Top hamburgers with a cheese slice featuring a jack-o‟-

    lantern face.

    ; Halloween pasta Local retailers sell pasta that comes in Halloween shapes.

    Cook, drain and dress with a favorite pasta sauce.

    ; Bony fingers Fill clear plastic gloves (those designed for use when preparing

    food) with popped popcorn and tie off the ends with black and orange ribbons.

    ; Party popcorn Combine items such as raisins, candy corn, nuts, gummy worms

    or orange and black candies with popped popcorn.

    These healthier options can still scare up a smile while fostering healthier eating habits.

    For more information on healthier eating habits, visit www.uaex.edu or contact your local

    county extension agent.

    The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture and offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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