Every year at Halloween, I have an internal debate with myself about giving out a bunch of candy.  I used to remedy this debate by handing out caramel apples however this year, with the apple crop damage in this state, we were unable to do that.  So we decided to do an experiment this time around…and the results were OUTSTANDING!!!

When I went to the store to shop for our trick-or-treaters, I felt a little like a scrooge buying apples, clementines and almonds.  I added M&Ms in the mix and so our bowl of treats had quite a variety.

I put about a quarter of the bag of snack size M&Ms in and filled the rest up with the real food; the apples, clementines and almonds.  We also gave out glow-in-the-dark bracelets to help them stay safe that evening and a book mark about health.

When the children came in, Angie would ask them to pick something from each bucket (bracelets in one, bookmarks in another, and the food/candy in the last).  When they got the bucket with the food/candy, a majority, and when I say the word majority I mean close to 90%, chose FOOD!!!  They would say things like “THEY HAVE ALMONDS!!!!”, “APPLES ARE MY FAVORITE!!” or on their way out the door, we could hear them declare “I ABSOLUTELY LOVE CLEMENTINES!!!!”.

It was amazing to see their reaction to what we were serving because I wasn’t sure which way it was going to go. In fact, when I was in the store getting supplies, I even said to the check-out person at Trader Joe’s “I may end up being one of those ‘dreaded’ places for Halloween because I am not giving out much candy, but I am going to give it a try anyway.”

So the outcome of this experiment is GIVE THEM FOOD!!!  Kids love food!  Real food!  Things that grow on trees and in the ground. They loved our treats and were absolutely thrilled to have the options. Why do you think that is?  I  attribute it to the possibility that kids innately know what is good for them.  I wouldn’t say a blanket statement “kids would choose real food over candy any day”, but how about giving them some healthy options on a regular basis.  How about rewarding them with a baked apple?  …or dried banana chips? …or some trail mix?  These choices on a regular basis will make a world of difference in their health in the long run.


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