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  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • October 2018
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Fall into health this Halloween

As a nutritionist, one of the most common concerns I have heard over the past few months is: “Summer eating is such a challenge.” As we now move into fall, all tempting foods should be out of the way, right? Unfortunately, as most can already tell from the aisles upon aisles of Halloween candy, things only get more challenging from here on out. Halloween kicks off the “holiday season” with Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and then Valentine’s Day just around the corner. The underlying message here — our health is a journey, never a destination. Good nutrition starts in the home, and it starts with you! With the right mindset and a little discipline, everyone has the power to stay on track with their health goals if they want to.

Here are some suggestions for your family’s healthy plan of attack this Halloween!

  • Procrastinate purchasing. Buy your Halloween candy the day of trick or treating to avoid temptation. Buy less than what you think you will need to avoid leftovers, and preferably a candy that you do not like or crave.
  • Non-candy treats. If you really have a hard time with temptation, choose to pass out non-candy treats such as snack packs of dried fruit, pretzels, nuts and seeds, raisins, single serve boxes of healthy ready-to-eat cereal, beef or turkey jerky.
  • Activity items. Encourage activity and creativity by handing out items such as bouncy balls, spider rings, pencils, erasers, bubbles, stickers, funny Halloween glasses, temporary tattoos, costume jewelry, glow sticks, crayons/markers and coloring tablets.
  • Eat before you trick or treat. Serve a healthy family dinner before the fun begins, this way the kids will not be tempted to eat candy along the way. Before you leave, have a discussion regarding when and how much of your kids’ candy they will be allowed to eat along the way.
  • Practice portion control. After trick or treating, sort the candy to keep only the favorites and preferably “healthier” choices. For example, choose which “fun size” candy bars have the least amount of fat, sugar and calories per serving. Pure dark chocolate is going to be a healthier choice. Set boundaries for your children on how much candy can be eaten each day, and put the rest out of reach. This rule applies to parents as well!
  • Creative incentive. Reward your kids for making good decisions by asking them to trade in their stash of candy for valued non-food items like toys, clothes, video games or music. If you pay for each piece of candy they “sell” you, they will be motivated to get rid of the unnecessary pile of candy they’ve collected in no time!

Halloween can be enjoyable for both kids and adults without overindulging. Due to the alarming obesity rate our nation faces, our children are predicted to be the first generation that will not outlive their parents. So what can we do to turn things around? Again, health is a journey, never a destination. If you and your family eat sensibly all year, then kids will already know how to make wise decisions when they are tempted to overindulge during various holidays. If we’re allowing both ourselves and our kids to indulge daily on unhealthy items, our “journey,” and health, will be a bumpy road ahead. Enjoy the holiday with your kids, but carefully plan what you will do at your house to assure that healthy eating habits are practiced.

Kim Stoeger, MS, Clinical Nutritionist

Kimberly Stoeger, MS, is the clinical nutritionist and owner of Nutritional Healing, LLC. Her passion lies in supporting people’s health through evidence-based medicine (risks versus benefits of medications) and healing therapies through nutrition. Kimberly has her masters of science in human nutrition degree, and experience working with clients regarding weight and fatigue issues, sports nutrition, food sensitivities and allergies, and general health concerns such as high blood pressure, high glucose levels, high cholesterol/triglycerides, migraines, thyroid conditions and gut dysfunction. To learn more, call 920-358-5764 or email [email protected]

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