PhotoHalloween and candy go hand-in-hand, but consuming too many sugary treats can be harmful to kids’ health. So how can parents keep their children from overindulging in sweets this year?

To start, it’s important to recognize that moderation is key. Allowing kids to have one or two pieces of candy after trick-or-treating is okay, says Karla Shelnutt, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences nutrition expert.

But after Halloween, parents should make sure to watch kids’ candy intake. Shelnutt recommends that parents space out the rest of the candy over days or even weeks. In addition, parents may want to explain to their kids why eating too much candy at once isn’t a good thing.

What else can parents do to limit kids’ sugar and fat intake during the spookiest time of the year? Here are a few tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Tips for a healthier Halloween

Shelnutt notes that kids who are between the ages of 6 and 8 need around 1,200 to 1,600 calories per day; just one or two candy bars can provide about 10% of those calories.
To keep kids healthy and reduce the risk of childhood obesity, parents can make an action plan to help reduce the temptation that may stem from having too much candy around.
Here’s what parents can do to keep an influx of Halloween candy from impacting kids' health, according to the academy: 
  • Consider not buying candy
  • Don’t open the candy too early
  • Establish limits
  • Portion control
  • Make candy trades by finding things your kids want more and switch out for the candy
  • Don’t leave candy in plain sight
  • Be mindful
  • Donate extra candy

Alternative treats 

Parents can also consider buying healthier alternative treats to pass out on Halloween and have around the house during the days and weeks that follow.

Having several fun, non-candy options around can go a long way towards helping kids stay healthy. Here are a few alternative treats to consider: 

  • Cheddar flavored crackers
  • 100% fruit snacks or leathers
  • Sugar-free gum
  • Animal-shaped crackers
  • Mini rice cereal treat bars 
  • Cereal bars made with real fruit
  • Individual fruit cups
  • Mini 100% fruit juice boxes 
  • Low-fat pudding cups 
  • Pretzels 

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