Halloween and Sugar

Flash Back Friday!

Sometimes, all we need is a little reminder here and there to help keep us on track.

My tips for preventing Halloween from becoming an all out disaster in terms of going off the deep end with copious amounts of sugar and then some remain the same, so here’s a refresher for you, on the day before what might otherwise be a challenging experience to say the least!

I still feel there are alternative ways to approach this kids’ holiday, rather than inundating them with copious amounts of sugar.

We do need to keep it context, however and not assume that it’s only on this one day that kids are overdoing it.

Sadly, the average American child eats too much sugar the other 364 days of the year as well. According to the American Heart Association, the average 1- to 3-year-old consumes roughly 12 teaspoons of sugar a day, and the average 4- to 8-year-old consumes 21 teaspoons on a daily basis)![1]

And the average American Adult? A whopping three pounds of sugar per week[2]!

OK, so you get the picture.
We need to start by not pretending that Halloween is the only day we’re overdoing it.

For kids, it may be one thing; they don’t want to feel left out of parties or trick or treating, but for adults, who opt to celebrate, does candy really even need to factor into it at all?  

As far as the little ones are concerned, don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you give out boxes of raisins to the cute little trick-or-treaters that ring your bell tonight (although, I will admit that’s what my mom did and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that idea!:).

Pieces of fresh fruit also sound like a viable option but I’m aware that lots of parents are leery of anything not in a package (ironic, though, that they’re fine with their kids eating packaged junk, but I’m not even going there!).

So how about something that is not even meant to be eaten?

No reason to earn yourself the reputation of the ‘mean lady or man that doesn’t give out anything to the kids on Halloween’; how about giving out something creative in the sense that it’s something other than candy?

  • One woman I spoke with the other day mentioned that she’d bought a stack of $5 gift cards from Gap Kids to hand out.  Yes, more costly than a bag of M&M, but I thought it was a cool concept.
  • Another client, who is an elementary school teacher, hands out small boxes of crayons.
  • Yet another client stated he gives quarters out!

Whether or not you think the three examples I listed are silly, you see my point; you don’t have to feel compelled to buy and distribute processed, refined, high-in-real-or-fake-sugar, artificially dyed and flavored, wax coated candy in order to participate in the neighborhood festivities.

Of course, you might end up opting to go ahead to go with the flow of buying the safe bet- candy- but at least you’re aware that there are other options!

At the very least, stay away from the most horrible of all the Halloween Candy choices; “The worst kind of Halloween candy is any candy made of pure sugar, like Skittles, Pixy Stix, Airheads and candy corn,” says Jennifer Willoughby, registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic Children’s. You might think candies like those are relatively healthy options, since many are marketed as “fat-free,” but manufacturers don’t need fat to make a sticky mess of corn syrup, sucrose, gelatin, wax and artificial flavors[3].

What’s the best balance, then?

Many clients report that they find their best balance to be keeping Paleo at home, while keeping in mind that when the kids are at school or at friends’ parties, they’re likely going to fill up with sugar.      

If that is the rare occasion, you’re still going to be keeping your kids far healthier than the norm, so good on you!

 Happy Halloween!

[1] Bellatti, Andy. “Children Are Eating Too Much Sugar, but Halloween Is Not to Blame.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.

[2] “How Much Sugar Are Americans Eating?” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2015

[3] “What’s the Worst Kind of Halloween Candy?” Time. Time, n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.