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When it comes to raising my 7-year-old daughter, one of the biggest challenges has been getting her to eat healthy. I've tried teaching her about nutrition, playing games, and yes-even a little bit of light-hearted bribery. But as it turns out, little girls are also little tanks that enjoy eating every delicious morsel in sight.
Halloween can be an especially difficult time of the year for health-minded parents like myself, thanks to the plethora of Snickers, Reese's, and Jolly Ranchers. Luckily, this isn't a lost cause! As a registered dietitian and personal trainer, I am continuing to overpower this annual challenge by helping parents find fun ways to trick their kids into eating healthy treats. Here are a few of those tips:
1. Make Healthy Treats Fun
You know the whole "ants on a log" game you play with celery, peanut butter, and raisins? I like to take it five steps further and actually alter some of my own recipes for this spooky occasion. One such recipe consists of Betsy's Best's new line of gourmet and all-natural nut and seed butters. I have just launched. It's an incredibly versatile ingredient that's perfect for tons of different recipes - including the Betsy's Best Creepy Crawler Energy Bites. Try making them yourself at home!
2. Use the "Buy Back" Program
A great way to teach your child about business strategy and institute healthy eating habits at the same time is to create a "buy back" program. My daughter absolutely loves this idea. After trick-or-treating every Halloween, she will go through her candy and pick out her favorite items before my husband and I buy back the rest from her. She only gets a few dollars in exchange for her treats, but ultimately she feels like she's getting something better out of the deal.
3. Practice Natural Portion Control
Pillowcases are popular for trick-or-treating, but while convenient, it only means your little one will come back with pounds of candy clenched in their little fingers. Instead, try picking up some goofy art supplies like googly eyes, glitter glue and spooky stickers and decorate a smaller container together. You'll get some one-on-one craft time and your child gets a cool, new candy collector to show off on Halloween night.
4. Lead By Example
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? If you want your kid to practice healthy eating habits around Halloween, make sure you're doing the same. Become your kid's best example and opt for distributing healthy snacks, like raisins, or fun toys, like pirate eye patches and temporary tattoos, to neighborhood kids.
5. Turn the Extra Candy into Artwork
The great thing about candy is that it's so versatile. Seriously, it comes in all different shapes and colors! When making macaroni art, swap out the pasta for Skittles and you'll open their project up to a whole new color palette of possibilities. Not crafty enough? Figure out how to incorporate candy into your child's next science presentation. There are some candy solar systems that look pretty neat.
And there you have it. These are just five simple tips that you can implement this Halloween to make sure your children aren't just enjoying Halloween, but their bellies are too.