Here's some advice for those on the giving end and the receiving end of Halloween treats.
While parents might worry about their kids eating too much trick-or-treat candy, Donna Weihofen , Senior nutritionist with the UW Hospital and Clinics in Madison, says parents should not prevent the little ghouls and goblins from participating in the festive occasion.
“It is a very special holiday and children look forward to it for months and months so we really don't want to take the pleasure out of it, and nor do we want candy to be the bad guy. We want just candy to be part of a healthy diet and that can happen if you can just have it in small quantities.”
Weihofen says it'd be great if treat givers could find a healthful, but tasty, compromise, like a mini granola bar. Another option is teeny, tiny, affordable toys.
“Toys would be a great idea. Because what do the kids want when they go to McDonalds? The Happy Meal? The first thing they really want is the toy. So that, I think, is a fantastic idea. I love it.”
Eating a lot of candy all day can lead to cavities, so Weihofen suggests you instruct your kids to ration out their Halloween treats for dessert and practice portion control. Weihofen says obesity is not caused by Halloween candy alone; it's from overeating food and candy throughout the year. She stresses portion control is the key, but don't toss the candy out.
“Do not take the candy and throw it away. That would be a horribly mean thing to do.”
NOTE: Weihofen is the author of The Cancer Survival Cookbook , offering nutrition tips and recipes for cancer patients.