On Oct 31, we all dress up in costumes for Halloween – a great time for fun, trick-or-treaters, some fear, and most of all – candies full of sugar. I don’t know about you, but my kids were always bringing home pounds of candies of all kinds, which were irritating me knowing that they might eat some of it.
As young parents, we always tried to limit the amount of candies left at home by helping our kids to choose 10 different candies they like, and the rest disappeared in a trash can. Through the years the fun of collecting this massive amount of candies was replaced with better choices of sweets that were baked, bought or brought into our house.
Some sugar children are eating in all those nougats, caramel and chocolates spike their blood glucose level which will change their behavior to some extent. Not to say, some saturated fats in these sweets and the number of calories. For example, standard Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are 88 calories a unit; however, the Peanut Butter Pumpkin has 180 calories one, which means one hundred (100) more calories per unit.
Artificial colors, flavoring, dyes and synthetic foods are also part of the game. You may be surprised to find out that food dyes are made from petroleum that fuels our cars so why do we want to give it to our kids?
Don’t fool yourself. Behind this fun, exciting activities of Halloween there is a vast industry that commercializes it to us. According to the American Sugar Alliance, the candy industry makes about $2.3 billion dollars only in Halloween candy sales. Yes, $2.3 billion dollars!
What about the nutritional benefits? I would say – NADA! No value! It only contributes to our nation children obesity phenomena and risks their present and future health.
Tips for healthy Halloween
- Share your thoughts and concerns about Halloween candies ahead of time (no surprises)
- Set the rules you think are best for your children such as:
- What kind of candies you allow them to eat
- How much can they eat?
- What will you do with the remaining candies?
- Educate them about the need to balance the amount of sugar they can have
- Suggest better options (homemade cookies, pencils, erasers, spider rings, stickers, etc.)
- Make sure you give your kids dinner before they go out for the trick-or-treat (lowering the chances of eating candies along the night)
- If they had some candies, provide them with protein snacks like raw almonds or yogurt to balance their levels of blood sugar
- After the trick-or-treat fun evening, sort the candies they can have based on the rules you set before them
- Walk around your neighborhood and just enjoy the time with your great kids
Remember, the candy industry can produce the candies, but we have the power to choose better foods that can benefit our children health.