Hallowed Treats for Goblins You Love: Promote Wellness & Help End Childhood Obesity

halloween.jpgWhat do “Halloween”, “Wellness”, and being an “Entrepreneur” all have in common? Simple. You. (That is if you live in the U.S., Italy, the U.K., Ireland, France and anywhere else that celebrates Halloween. If you don’t, perhaps you know someone who does and can pass along this post.)

Let me start by saying that I’m indulging a bit today. I’m climbing up onto my soapbox and ranting a bit about a subject that gets me fired up: Childhood Obesity. At the outset and launch of this blog, I promised to limit my rants to only once in a blue moon, and Halloween’s role in Childhood Obesity is a subject that counts as a blue moon as far as I’m concerned.

So, here’s the rant. Yes, Halloween brings out the kid in us. No matter our age, it can be fun to get dressed up in costumes and go to parties or take our costumed kids and parade around the neighborhood. And yes, treats can be part of the fun. However, treats don’t have to be sticky, gooey white-sugar-based candy, and treats don’t have to be food. So when it comes to Halloween (or anytime) “treats” for the children in our world, the usual commercial fare is just not the way to go.

You know the statistics. You see evidence all around you. Childhood obesity has reached such epidemic proportions that world health officials have decided they need to take a more aggressive approach if they are to head off a global explosion of fat-related diseases.

But I refuse to wear a colored ribbon signifying an end to the socially caused problem of Childhood Obesity. Why? I just don’t like the whole idea of colored ribbons. I don’t like saying that I am against things. I’d rather jump on the bandwagon to support the things I do believe in — like health, wellness and the freedom to engage in entrepreneurial ventures. It just seems to me that teaching and modeling health and wellness to our children is the only thing that makes sense, and in doing so…we will end childhood obesity.

That said, I’ll contradict myself for a minute and talk briefly about what I’m against. Childhood obesity is no laughing matter. In fact it’s worth crying about or at least ranting about and risking your blog readers’ disapproval. On the other hand, healthy and fit kids will contribute to a healthier future and give all of us something to smile about.

Are you thinking, as I admit I was at one point, that since your own kids, nieces, nephews or friend’s kids don’t suffer from childhood obesity that you’re off the hook? Please think again.

We are all very much on the hook. And handing out sugary treats on Halloween because it’s easier than finding creative alternatives is no excuse in my book for contributing to the epidemic.

So what can you do?

Whether from your office checkbook or from your front door on Halloween, give “Hallowed Treats” that support wellness in our children.

Here are 31 ideas (in 4 venues) for doing so:

Venue #1: Your Front Door

Instead of refined white sugar or refined flour treats this Halloween, (when sealed treats are important) give out:

– colored pencils
– gel pens in bright colors
– crayons
– whistles (be mindful that they’re not choking hazards to little goblins)
– erasers in animal shapes
– coins
– stickers
– decorated hair clips or ponytail holders
– toothbrushes
– sealed fruit cups (applesauce, etc.)
organic juice boxes (100% juice)
– string cheese
– herbal tea bags (individually wrapped)
– protein or granola bar (without sugar)
– boxes of raisins
– individual whole grain Fig cookie packs
– individual 2oz almond packs
– All Natural dark chocolate squares by Endangered Species (at Trader Joe’s)

Venue #2: Your Own Healthy Halloween Party

Host a Halloween party at your home (when sealed treats aren’t required) and serve:

– spiced apple cider
– spiced apple cake made with applesauce and spelt flour
– popcorn sprinkled with parmesan cheese or brewer’s yeast
– fresh apple slices or do the “bob for apples” bit
– fresh veggies and spiced hummus dip
– pumpkin seeds (sprinkle with Tamari and let the kids help bake)
– whole grain cookies such as Fig Newman’s
– whole grain crackers with organic almond or peanut butter
– healthy mini-pizza’s: broil whole grain English muffins with tomato sauce, raw cheese, olives, and other veggies
– pumpkin soup
non-food treats such as those on the above list

***Notice I included NO sugar-free Splenda-containing items on these lists. With good reason, but that’s a rant for another blue moon. I promise. But if you don’t want to wait til then, check out what Dr. Mercola has to say about the hazards of Splenda by clicking on the link above.

Venue #3: Your Entrepreneurial Office and/or Nearby Walking and Jogging Trail

Get Running and Take Out Your Checkbook. “Treat” the planet’s children and:

– make a donation to the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC)
– sponsor your own Halloween Fun Run, the weekend prior to or following Halloween. Gather neighborhood parents and kids, ask others to chip in for each few blocks you and the kids run/walk, and raise money for KidsPeace charity to help support healthy children.

logo.jpgVenue #4: A Salad Creations® Restaurant near you

“Treat” your kids to a “Create Your Own” healthy salad and show them what fun it is to choose from the 28+ fresh ingredients.

Let me indulge a bit more and do a little shameless self-promotion. Not sure if you know or not but my husband and I are the Area Developers in the SF Bay Area for the Salad Creations® franchise. We’re downright proud of the fact that Salad Creations® is committed to helping kids eat healthier and to helping put an end to childhood obesity.

So click here to locate a Salad Creations® near you and take your goblins for a crunchy Halloween treat! (And if there isn’t a Salad Creations store near you just yet, call a friend or family member with kids who does live near one, and pass along the idea for this healthier Halloween “treat”.)

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So there you have it. Healthy tips “masked” this Halloween as my once-in-a-blue-moon rant (of course I may post it again the day before Halloween as a reminder:) Thanks for tuning in.

• Got “treat” tips? Love to hear them. Post your ideas about promoting wellness this Halloween!

• Feel strongly about Childhood Obesity? Send your comments!