Family Health Centers of San Diego knows that many of our patients, family members and community members get into the spirit of Halloween by trick-or-treating. Whether you are going out trick-or-treating with your littles, tweens or teens, below are some tricks to keep everyone safe and healthy while collecting treats.
- Eat a healthy dinner.
It’s tempting to rush out the door to start trick-or-treating as soon as the kids are ready in their costumes and you are home from work, but it is important to fill up kids’ stomachs with protein and vegetables before they begin eating sweets. A quick dinner of chicken and broccoli, a veggie pizza or turkey wraps are easy and fast to whip up and eat before heading out for the night.
- Make it an opportunity to increase physical activity.
Trick-or-treating is a fun way to get extra steps in without realizing it! Instead of driving from street to street, consider walking the entire route. Kids of all ages can walk the route, though perhaps bring a wagon or stroller just in case they tire out on the walk back home. As a bonus, the extra calories you burn might help you feel less guilty about eating the treats you collect!
- Always walk as a group.
Whether you are trick-or-treating as family or if older children want to go with their friends, it is recommended kids stay with the group. This helps keep everyone safe from cars, strangers or other spooky happenings! Make sure kids know not to wander off or go too far away from the group.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
Instead of looking down at your cell phone, be present and keep an eye on your surroundings, including watching for traffic, strangers who may be following your group or cracks in the sidewalks kids can trip over.
- Bring a flashlight or light-up sticks.
Streetlights only provide so much light so it’s good to have an extra light source for those poorly lit areas or to help maneuver up the driveways. Also, it helps ensure that cars and other groups see you coming down the street. Placing reflective tape or lights on kids’ trick-or-treat bags or costumes is also a great idea.
- Stick with factory-wrapped treats.
Do not eat homemade treats unless you know the person who made it. Check your child’s candy for holes or any anomalies before they eat it.
- Implement the 1/3 rule.
After all of the candy is collected, sit down with your kids and sort through it. Not only does this give you a good chance to inspect the candy, but it’s also an opportunity to talk about moderation. Have them set aside 1/3 of candy they want to throw away (usually candy they don’t like or you feel is too sweet); have them place another 1/3 that you can donate to your church, school or bring to your work; and the final 1/3 they are allowed to eat.
And now that Halloween is over, it’s a great time to schedule your children’s yearly dental appointment and cleaning! Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHCSD) encourages our patients to implement healthy practices whenever possible and recommends children have their teeth checked for cavities on a regular basis. For more information or to schedule an appointment for dental services, call (619) 515-2300. FHCSD wishes you and your family a safe and happy Halloween!
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention