It is so easy for adults and children to load up on sweets and other unhealthy foods on Halloween, and many seasonal favorites are not heart-healthy. Many Halloween candies and treats are high in saturated fat, which can cause higher cholesterol levels that can lead to clogged arteries and heart problems.
Heart health is important for older adults, but it is also increasingly important in children. Eating a heart-healthy diet from an early age lowers cholesterol, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. If continued through adolescence and into adulthood, eating a heart-healthy diet should reduce a child’s risk of coronary artery disease later in life.
Many people view Halloween as a health problem for kids, but it can also be a tricky time for adults attending parties or encountering holiday treats at work. Parents may be tempted to sneak treats from their kids’ bags or snack on candy leftover from trick-or-treating.
Fortunately, there are ways to have a heart-conscious Halloween.
10 Tips for a Heart-Healthy Halloween
- Sneak in a healthy snack before going to parties. Having a small snack before answering the door during trick-or-treating can also prevent you from nibbling from the candy bowl.
- Create traditions that shift the focus away from candy. Put the emphasis on decorations, movies or costumes instead.
- Bag the monster-sized candy sack and opt for a smaller bag instead. Never use a pillowcase.
- Encourage your trick-or-treaters to choose just one piece of candy from each home so that they can visit more houses.
- Make a heart-conscious game out of walking when taking the kids Trick-or-Treating. Set a goal of how many houses you want to visit, for example, and stick to it. Compete in teams or try to beat the previous year’s record.
- Walk from house to house instead of driving.
- Look for houses displaying a teal pumpkin, as this is a sign that the residents give out non-food items. The Teal Pumpkin Project started as a way to give kids with allergies a safe alternative to trick-or-treat candy, but everyone is welcome to trick-or-treat at homes displaying teal pumpkins.
- Dress up healthy snacks in a Halloween theme. Decorate oranges like Jack-O-Lanterns, for example, or make apple monster mouths, carrot witch fingers, banana ghosts and berry ghouls.
- Schedule physical activities. Hold a zombie dance party or create games, such as a three-legged monster race, pumpkin toss, or a spider crawl.
- Adults can schedule a heart scan to determine their heart health. Discovering that you have a heart problem can be scary, but early detection can lead to early treatment.
For more information on heart health, contact your nutritionist or doctor. Schedule an appointment with Virtual Imaging today by contacting us here.