Halloween tips to curb sweet tooth, risks

From parades to mazes to spooky houses, area haunts are gearing up for Halloween, and officials in law-enforcement, government, and health care want to make sure the emphasis on Friday’s candy pursuit focuses on treats.

The Pennsylvania State Police are offering the following tips for children and the adults who should accompany them: keep costumes short to prevent trips and falls; ensure that masks don’t impair sight; never enter a strange house or car; avoid houses that are not lit; stay on sidewalks or paths and avoid shortcuts through yards or alleys; use a flashlight, glow sticks or reflective materials to ensure that motorists can see you; and inspect all candy, discarding any that has been opened or is not in the original wrapper.

Check with your township to see if trick-or-treating hours are restricted. For example, Kennett Township limits the activity to 6 to 8 p.m., suggesting that the curfew makes it easier for residents to be prepared for visitors.

The township also recommends planning a safe route and making sure that older children, who should be encouraged to travel in groups, have a cell phone so they can communicate with parents regarding their whereabouts. They should also be instructed to refrain from eating candy until they arrive home so it can be checked.

Once children have their Halloween stash, Rachel Wooters, bariatric dietitian at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, says parents can take steps to keep them healthy. Needless to say, she recommends distributing apples or other seasonal fruits, Halloween-themed bags of pretzels, string cheese, raisins or nuts, all of which provide healthier alternatives to candy.

Mindful that candy is likely to remain part of the routine, Wooters urges parents to promote moderation. Look at the nutrition food label to help decide which choice is better and limit the quantity accordingly.

Make eating candy in moderation easy for your kids as soon as they return home with their Halloween treats. Sort through their candy that night and decide how many pieces they can have each day. Divide it into lunch bags that they can have as parents see fit, Wooters said.

Limiting children’s candy consumption this Halloween is important for short-term and long-term health, according to Wooters. Eating too much candy adds calories and can cause weight gain. Consistently eating too many sweets affects blood sugar and can increase the risk of diabetes and other health conditions as people age.

 

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