Sacking the Halloween Candy: 20 Alternatives to Sticky Sweets

Choose an alternative to the cavity-causing sweets.

Looking to cut down your child’s sugar consumption? Alameda Pediatric Dentistry’s Dr. Binita Katheria recommends limiting the days when sweets are allowed. Following the advice of Food Rules author, Michael Pollan, Dr. Katheria says, “A good rule I follow is to eat sweets only on the days that begin with the letter S, like Saturday and Sunday.”

But this year, Halloween falls on a Monday and little ones will surely be hankering for their hard-earned candy all week long. According to Dr. Katheria, candy that is sour and sticky is especially bad for teeth since it not only sticks to the tooth, but the acid that makes it sour can weaken the top layer of enamel, making it easier for a cavity to start.

Send the kids glowing into the night.

What to do? One way to help ease the post-Halloween sugar shock is to fill those neighborhood goodie bags with treats that don’t promote tooth decay. Here are 20 alternatives for the Halloween sack that are sure to make the little ghouls and goblins smile:

  1. Spider or skull rings
  2. Slime
  3. Stickers. Choose fun ones with a Halloween-themed hologram or design.
  4. Pencils. Go for black and orange if you can’t find a holiday print.
  5. Glow-in-the-dark necklaces
  6. Bouncy eyeballs
  7. Coins. Try scooping ‘em from a treasure chest with a pirate’s “aargh.”
  8. Glow sticks
  9. Erasers or pencil toppers
  10. Fangs. They’re especially fun if you’re dressed as a vampire.
  11. Mini notebooks, markers, and crayons
  12. Noisemakers or kazoos
  13. Sugar-free gum. Gum promotes saliva production – it’s good for the teeth!
  14. Temporary tattoos
  15. Bottles of bubbles
  16. Sticky hands
  17. Sidewalk chalk
  18. Silly Bandz for the girls, pirate’s eye-patches for the boys
  19. Healthier snacks like trail mix, popcorn, string cheese, or pretzels
  20. Chocolate! According to Dr. Katheria, the best type of candy to eat, if you have to have a treat, is plain pure chocolate with no nuts, toffee, or filling.

In spite of your efforts, the kids will invariably come home with a big bag of cavity-causing sweets. That’s why Alameda Pediatric Dentistry is holding a Halloween Candy Buy Back to gather the extra treats they’ve collected the night before and ship it overseas for Operation Gratitude. Families with children can come on in and receive cash in exchange for unopened candy on November 1, 2011 from 4 to 6 p.m.

“This is our first year hosting a candy buyback and we hope to be able to collect lots of goodies for the troops,” Dr. Katheria says. “We’ll have a card making station for the kids to send greeting cards to be mailed with the care packages full of treats and toothbrushes for the men and women protecting our country.”

Check out our tips for healthy lunches!

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