4,800 calories: That's what is in an average trick-or-treat haul

October 25, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—For most kids Halloween is all about the candy. It is estimated that each child's bag of goodies contains about 4,800 calories and has 3 cups of sugar and 1½ cups of fat. The real horror in the Halloween trick-or-treat bag is how it adds to an already scary epidemic of childhood obesity.

"Kids and teens love Halloween. It's filled with fun parties, costumes and free candy. Halloween can be a great time as long as parents make sure their child doesn't go overboard eating all that candy," said Garry Sigman, MD, director of the Pediatric Weight Management Program at Loyola University Health System.

Sigman gives some tips for making Halloween happy and healthy.

Focus on fun, not candy. Find fun activities for your kids to do instead of just walking door-to-door getting candy. Plan a party with fun games or have a pumpkin-carving contest. You could watch a scary movie or have a costume parade.

Set limits. Limit the time your kids are out trick-or-treating. Instead of the pillowcase, look for a small bag that they can use to collect candy. When they get home let them pick out two pieces to eat and then put the rest away in a freezer or hidden place to save for another day. All children should eat no more than one or two pieces of candy a day. If children are obese, they should not eat more than one or two pieces of candy a week.

Host a candy trade-in party. When the get back from trick-or-treating, the candy in each child's bag is weighed. Kids can exchange their for prizes based on the bag's weight.

Not all treats are unhealthy and you can help your neighbors by handing out healthier treats. According to Sigman, healthier treats include:

•Fruit leathers
•Packs of sugarless gum
•Boxed or packaged dried fruit like raisins
•Single servings of ready-to-eat cereal, but look for ones with less than 10 grams of sugar
•Lollipops
•Jolly Ranchers
•100-calorie packs of cookies or snacks
•Low-fat granola bars
•Snack-size bags of popcorn
•Non-food treats such as Play-Doh, spider rings, bubbles, temporary tattoos, sidewalk chalk or cookie cutters.

Explore further: Avoid scary calorie counts this Halloween

Related Stories

Avoid scary calorie counts this Halloween

October 14, 2012
(HealthDay)—Waiting until the last minute to buy Halloween candy is a good way to stick to a healthy diet and cut extra calories, an expert suggests, because if the candy isn't sitting around the house, you won't be tempted ...

Tips for a healthy, happy Halloween

October 20, 2011
Ghosts and goblins, vampires and werewolves, haunted houses and hayrides. Though Halloween is all about being scared silly, the shock from stepping on the scale after pilfering through the collected candy could turn your ...

Child safety expert gives Halloween safety tips

October 24, 2012
For one night you get to be someone completely different, have a mission of collecting candy at every house you see and it's OK to be scared. It's no wonder Halloween has become one of the most exciting holidays for kids. ...

Child safety expert gives Halloween safety tips

October 27, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Halloween has become one of the most anticipated holidays for kids. For one night it is OK to be scared, free candy is everywhere and you can pretend to be someone or something completely different. Still, ...

Halloween doesn't have to be gorge-fest to be fun

October 29, 2011
Offer apples to trick-or-treaters and risk having your house get egged - maybe even by your own kids.

Recommended for you

Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together

July 20, 2017
Having a sugar-sweetened drink with a high-protein meal may negatively affect energy balance, alter food preferences and cause the body to store more fat, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Nutrition.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.