Halloween is just days away.  I am probably too late in my posting to sway you to hand out treats free of artificial dyes and flavorings (like these organic gummy bears) to your trick or treaters this year, but we can still talk about how to make this holiday more of a treat than a trick for our little ones’ bodies.

#1 It’s Halloween! Chances are you’re going to let them eat candy, and while there is marginal evidence that even small binges can have long lasting effects, none of us wants to raise our kids in a vacuum.  Even my little one will probably be caught with chocolate on his face.  If your children have any specific sensitivities, the internet is full of lists of which candies are free from X, Y or Z.  Google is your dearest friend here.

#2 Shore up with a healthy dinner and post-trick or treat snacks.  Halloween, especially on a school day, especially on a school day smack in the middle of the week, can be a busy day.  Your slow cooker is your ally.  Prepare a filling dinner full of protein and fat for your littles to eat before they head out, and to have second helpings of to warm them up when they get home.  Starting out the night with protein and fat will help ease the entrance of sugar into the blood stream, mitigating its effects and possibly sparing you the emotional ups and downs of over-sugared, under nourished, stimulated kiddos.  Hold off on any processed-grain ingredients (buns, biscuits, crackers, bread of any kind), and do what you can to sneak in as many fiber-filled vegetables as possible.  Halloween is a GREAT day to put in the extra effort to have a plate of cut carrots sitting on the kitchen table for snacking!

Some easy, warming dinner ideas include:
Chili, whether chicken, beef or vegetable
Lentil Soup or Split Pea
Crockpot tacos (chicken–skip the sugar, beef or lentil) served as salads rather than in tortillas
Ham, Cheese and Egg Cups or a crustless quiche/fritata

#3 Have your kids brush their teeth after they eat dinner and before they go out knocking on doors.  This might just postpone the candy-bag digging a couple of houses, and every piece helps!

#4 Consider having the “switch witch” visit your home to trade candy for other treats, or do what this mama-doctor does and get your kids thinking about the winter holidays as they set aside candy to decorate gingerbread houses later. Or, consider making one of these treats from Elana’s Pantry that your kids can enjoy in lieu of their loot.

I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween!