Halloween Mini Treats Could Scare Up High Calorie Counts

Miniature-sized candies are great alternatives for Halloween, but could scare up high calorie and carbohydrate counts if parents don’t monitor how many their children eat, warn pediatricians from Harris Health System.

While the amount of calories and carbohydrates per treat is relatively low compared with regular-sized candies, too much of the smaller treats could be just as bad.

“We want parents to be aware that calories and carbohydrates can add up quickly when children eat more of the smaller snacks,” says Elizabeth Bosquez, MD, medical director for Harris Health Pediatrics and Adolescent Health Centers-Bear Creek and Cypress. “Tiny treats are better than the regular-sized treats, but other alternatives such as fruits, pretzels, or popcorn are even better.”

Sugary treats are OK in moderation, she adds.

Sherin Wesley, MD, a pediatrician with the Weight Management Program at Harris Health Pediatrics and Adolescent Health Center-Pasadena, says prohibiting sweets on a holiday traditionally known for candy may not be the solution.

“If a parent allows a child to trick-or-treat, it would almost seem unfair to not allow them to have their reward,” she says.

Wesley suggests not giving children all their candy at once but dividing the loot into small amounts that can be given to them once a week over a month or so.

“Parents may want to consider a ‘loot fairy’ similar to a tooth fairy. With this tactic, children place their candies under their pillow at bedtime to get either money or a toy in exchange,” she says.

The experts recommend that parents gather and inspect all treats before allowing their children to eat them and immediately throw away any open candies or items with broken wrapping. Also, carefully consider the source of homemade items such as popcorn balls or cookies before allowing children to eat.

Some alternatives to candy include food items like pretzels, juice boxes, sugar-free gum, granola bars, or fruit wraps, and small toys such as stickers, temporary tattoos, sunglasses, or bracelets.

Source: Harris Health System