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Three Healthier Alternatives to Handing Out Halloween Candy

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Three Healthier Alternatives to Handing Out Halloween Candy

Oct 26, 2016

How can you make Halloween healthier for trick-or-treaters without finding yourself on the receiving end of a “trick?” Dietitian Theresa Dvorak shares three candy alternatives and tells us what she gives the ghosts and goblins that show up on her stoop.

Episode Transcript

Interviewer: Three alternatives to handing out candy on Halloween, that's next on "The Scope."

Announcer: Health tips, medical news, research and more for a happier, healthier life, from University of Utah Health Sciences, this is "The Scope."

Interviewer: All right, here's the deal. You've decided you want to make Halloween a little healthier for the trick-or-treaters that show up on your door stoop, how can you do that? Well, we're going to find out right now. Registered Dietician Theresa Dvorak is from the Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology at the University of Utah College of Health and, first of all, I've got to know, as a dietitian, what are the gInterviewers and goblins getting at your door stoop on Halloween?

Theresa: A combination of things, I usually do, kind of, a bucket that they can choose out of.

Interviewer: So like, apple slices, oranges, I mean, are you handing out candy?

Theresa: Well, I guess I do more non-food things and then maybe some candy things.

Interviewer: All right, so here's the premise, you're thinking maybe you might want to make Halloween a little bit healthier for the kids in the neighborhood and not get your house TP'ed at the same time. So, let's start with number one here of, like, three candy alternatives, what's your first one?

Theresa: Things like school supplies, so pencils, erasers, that have a Halloween theme to them, keeping within . . . you know, you don't want to send out just a boring pencil or something of that sort, but maybe get ones that are decorated with a Halloween theme.

Interviewer: All right, that's pretty good, I like that. How about a second alternative?

Theresa: Another alternative would be things like trinkets or toys, you know, things like the spider rings or . . .

Interviewer: Ooh, I like that.

Theresa: . . . items of that nature that might be fun to play with.

Interviewer: And what are you going to recommend for candy-alternative number three?

Theresa: And then, third could be something of a healthy choice, a healthy snack like a string cheese or apple slices, prepackaged, healthful foods. Interviewer: Yeah, because that's another one of the tricks, right? Like, I think, well, you could hand out apples, but no you can't because of the safety concerns.

Theresa: Right, just like candy, you want to make sure that it's fully packaged and sealed, so even if it was just those miniature boxes of raisins, those are great things to hand out as well, those dried fruit, individual packages.

Interviewer: Like, what about granola bars? Are those better than candy? Like, little, small granola bars?

Theresa: It depends, a lot of them, honestly, have about the same amount of sugar that a candy bar would, so incorporated into a balanced diet, maybe, but that certainly could be a choice that looks different than, say, a Snickers bar.

Interviewer: And you said that you, kind of, give out a mix of things, so why is that?

Theresa: You know, I like to let the kids choose.

Interviewer: Do they choose the apple slices ever?

Theresa: They do.

Interviewer: Do they?

Theresa: They do, honestly, yeah. I think part of it is just that it's something different that they're not getting at all at the other houses, so it's that unique piece. Yeah, and you know, Halloween too is really just about the experience, right? Going out and trick-or-treating, going door-to-door and dressing up, and out with their friends or family. And so it's the fun of the trick-or-treating and then often, too, the sorting of the items when they get home, right? Putting them into different piles and "What am I going to choose first?" or what have you. That's really the fun of Halloween is the trick-or-treating and the sorting.

Interviewer: So as a registered dietitian, it sounds like you do give out . . . do you give out candy at all?

Theresa: I do, I do a combination.

Interviewer: Yeah but kids will go for the healthier stuff?

Theresa: They do, yeah.

Interviewer: And does your house get TP'ed every year?

Theresa: No, thankfully. Interviewer: No, everything's good, all right, that was very helpful, some, maybe, alternatives to giving out candy or, I like your idea, maybe even giving a mix or giving kids the choice.

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