Healthy Eating Tips Healthy Foods Holiday Tips

Trick or Treat: Happy Halloween Not So Scary Health Tips!

 

Halloween is a holiday for all ages. Adults, like kids, enjoy getting dressed up in costume to celebrate the dawn of the dead! Trick-or-treating seems to be the main event, but we all can take pleasure in visiting haunted houses, attending Halloween parties or hopping on a hayride to relax and enjoy breathing in the crisp fall air.

There are numerous Halloween customs around the world, but this festive event began in the 1900s as an Irish tradition. It is also the Celtic New Year. In the U.S. Halloween celebrates the end of summer and the beginning of fall.

So, there’s a lot more to Halloween then kids wandering from house to house or from store to store stocking up on flavorful sweet treats. But from a kid’s point of view, it’s a favorite. What’s not to love, right?

Halloween Candy Eating Facts

Americans spend an estimated $2.6 billion on sweet treats adding up to 600 million pounds of candy purchased for just one day of Halloween.  On fright night, each child typically consumes about 7,000 calories which are equivalent to 169 cubes of sugar, totaling 675 grams of sugar in just a few hours.

Just to keep things in perspective, the average American eats 71 grams of sugar a day or 57 pounds of added sugar each year. Kids ages 2-18 consume about 124 grams of sugar, or 29 teaspoons daily from soda and sugary drinks, cereal and other types of junk food.

We are way off base from the sugar recommendations set by the American Heart Association.

American Heart Association Daily Sugar Recommendations:

  • Children 2-18 should consume less than 25 grams
  • Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons)
  • Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons)

Like anything else, some of you may argue against and others may support my belief.

My recommendation is to eliminate or minimize all sugar, including processed carbohydrates that turn into 100% sugar when you eat it, not just added sugar.

If sugar or candy consumption cannot be controlled, it is best to avoid it. Any food is just not worth the damaging effect on behavior, moods, weight or medical

Halloween Isn’t Just One Day of the Year

One day to celebrate Halloween and a few hours of trick or treating never hurt anyone. But let’s not fool ourselves, candy is everywhere and there is plenty of temptation all around us for weeks before and after the holiday.

No one would blame you for not being able to resist a few little pieces of candy just until it’s all gone. Or will one little indulgence set you up for disaster?

There are ways to fight temptation so it doesn’t take quite a toll on you or your kids.

Do You Know Your Candy Calories?

Candy is not your friend. Know your enemy. You will get an extra 60-100 calories for each of your favorite Halloween treats.

Calories on Halloween count and if you eat too much can bring you right to the point of no return.

Fun Size Calorie Portions:

  • Snickers 80
  • Kit Kat: 70
  • Hershey’s Chocolate Bar (without almonds), Milky Way and Almond Joy: 80
  • Sweet Tarts: 60 calories (6 candies)
  • Candy corn: 140 calories (19-pieces)
  • Tootsie Roll: 140 calories (6 minis)
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: 105 calories per cup not package

3 Simple Healthy Halloween Tips

Tip #1 Recognize that small cute innocent looking pieces of candy treats, trick you into eating a cauldron full of excess sugar, fat, and calories.

Tip #2 Read candy labels. You may just spook yourself out of eating too many.

Tip #3 Just say no to any Halloween candy. But if you can’t, set a limit of no more than 3 servings or less if you can.

Why Candy on Halloween?

Using candy as the center of attraction for Halloween festivities is a nightmare. Especially while amid a diabesity epidemic and because there are more allergy sufferers today than ever before. How scary is it for parents who want their kids to partake in the holiday but have to stress about getting candy that will potentially trigger an allergic reaction?

Yet we all feel obligated to pass out candy, on Oct 31st.

There are lots of candy alternatives that can make both kids and parents just as happy. Of course, you want trick-or-treaters to have fun, but that doesn’t mean you have to pass out candy on Halloween.

You might think that if you do not hand out the sweet treats you could be blacklisted as “boring” or considered the Halloween “Grinch”. This is far from the truth.

Shifting The Halloween Tradition

Candy alternatives can be offered on fright night. Instead of topping the blacklist, you might just get the reputation as the first “go-to” house on the block. Kids will love these creative treats:

  • Temporary tattoos.
  • Stickers – can be put on bags, hands, or costumes.
  • Halloween toys like plastic animal bats, rings, false teeth or fake spiders.
  • Glow in the dark jewelry like necklaces and bracelets.
  • Small containers of bubbles.
  • Pencils, pencil toppers, or erasers.
  • Boxes of Crayons.
  • Mini water bottles.
  • Mini containers of play dough.
  • Bouncing balls.
  • Key chains.
  • Whistles or little noisemakers.
  • Coloring sheets, activity pads with puzzles and coloring sheets.

Just think as an additional benefit – you won’t have the temptation of eating bags and bowls of candy that are sitting around after the holiday.

Think Outside The Halloween Candy Wrapper!

cutie with celeryWe do not need the candy to make Halloween a special event, just think outside the candy wrapper! Having fun and being happy and healthy on October 31st –  is not mutually exclusive.

The holiday doesn’t have to be a health nightmare.  A little bit of creativity and you can create healthier snacks to pass out to your trick-or-treaters. Or, have your kids fill up on these cool snacks before the candy frenzy begins. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Go simple with individually wrapped cheese sticks.
  • Serve edible pumpkins using clementines or cuties with a slice of a celery stick for the stem.
  • Use Halloween holiday cookie cutter to make mini sandwiches or cheese into goblins and ghoulish shapes.
  • Deviled eggs can be prepared in many different ways and options.
  • Ants on a log is an old-time favorite. Simply fill celery with peanut butter and sprinkle 2-3 raisins on top.
  • Make your celery mummies by filling the celery with garden vegetable flavored soft cream cheese.celery mummies Then cut deli meat into tiny strips and lay them in a criss-cross pattern over the cream cheese. Use tiny dried cranberries or raisins for the eyes.

 

You can start your own tradition making cool and interesting healthy snacks for everyone. Pick and choose your poison!

What To Do With All The Left Over Candy?

Sometimes navigating the Halloween day barrage of sweets is not too bad. But then if you’ve got bags of it sitting around taunting you all day, every day for weeks, something bad is bound to happen.

Don’t wait or hesitate, get rid of the candy! It is easiest to toss it after the holiday to avoid triggering an avalanche of excess candy eating.

Some parents have started trading money or toys for leftover Halloween sweets. However, there are more options, for example, you can donate candy.

  • One organization, Operation Gratitude, ships candy to deployed soldiers. They are excited to get the treats. Initially created by a Wisconsin dentist, Dr.  Chris Kammer. Candy is purchased for a dollar a pound and then shipped to the soldiers along with dental supplies like toothbrushes, floss, and mouthwash. The buy-back program also distributes candy to First Responder Departments in various locations.
  • Another great option is the Halloween Candy Buy-Back event. Buybacks typically partner with local businesses that donate coupons for goods, services, or food. Excess candy is “bought” or exchanged for cash, coupons, toothbrushes, xylitol products or other items.

If you choose to keep the candy on hand, keep it in an out-of-reach place so it is easier to manage. This prevents kids and adults alike from dipping into the bowl of candy every time one walks into the kitchen.

pumpkins

It’s a Halloween Wrap-up

Be healthy and have a spooktacular time on Halloween. Halloween can be fun without all the junk. A little candy is okay but too much candy is not a good thing for anyone. There are lots of different ways to celebrate the Halloween holiday. Candy does not have to be the center of attention.

Overdosing on anything is deadly; sugary treats are no exception. The best way to manage all the incoming candy contraband is to have a plan. Make better choices to balance eating too much junk.

Trick-or-treaters will ring your doorbell on October 31st. Will you follow old traditions or create new ones?

# Halloween Candy #Halloween Treats #Halloween Healthy Tips

About the author

Valerie Goldstein

Valerie raises the bar for health and nutrition know how with unconventional expertise and unconditional support for wellness.

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