Halloween is a favorite holiday for many families. We love the parties, the spooky decorations, and parading around the neighborhood in frightfully delightful costumes. But celebrating with enormous amounts of sugar can make it downright dreadful! I have some tips for a healthy Halloween that you’ll appreciate!
If you’re like me, you’re bracing yourself for the endless negotiations with your kids for treats at parties and on Halloween night. And you’re also wanting to avoid the inner battle of whether you should binge on left over candy.
Over-consumption of sugar right now can lower your immune system response, damage beneficial gut flora, and make you more likely to get sick. And no doubt, if you continue to indulge after the holiday, it can negatively affect your physique.
Is it possible to have a healthy Halloween without taking away all the fun?
Here are several tips you can try that will get you through this festive time, without any regrets.
5 Tips for A Healthy Halloween
1. Bring healthy Halloween party food
Who said Halloween party food has to be sugary and full of artificial colors and flavors? You can bring healthy items that everyone will enjoy eating. Here are a few ideas you may want to try:
I’m dying to try out these disgusting, yet nutritious apple bites, probably substituting almond butter for the Sunbutter for our play group.
2. Give out healthier treats on Halloween night
For trick-or-treaters, you can add to their health by giving out non-food items like cute erasers, glow-in the dark bracelets, stickers and such.
Or if you still want to give out candy, consider passing out treats that are organic, lower in sugar, and free of artificial colors and flavors. This fun option that has just 6g of sugar (oops, I swear it wasn’t me who already sampled this open package!)
3. Prepare for trick-or-treating with balanced meals
For the days surrounding Halloween, you can help prepare your child’s body for the treats to come by making sure they eat 3 well-balanced meals.
What does this mean? See here for my specific dietary advice for kids. Basically, I recommend school-age children get approximately:
- 50% of calories from complex carbohydrates (mostly veggies & fruits with twice as many veggies, limit grains to 2-3 servings/day)
- 25-30% protein (free-range organic meat, fish, eggs, whole-fat yogurt, nuts, seeds, quinoa, and beans)
- 20-25% fat (olives, avocado, coconut, macadamia nuts, butter, egg yolk, fatty fish like salmon, flax oil)
Adding good fats to your child’s diet is critical to helping with blood sugar balance. It may also help keep them full longer, so they’re less likely to binge on candy.
You can also help manage blood sugar surges by taking a shot of apple cider vinegar diluted in water prior to each meal. It may be hard for children to accept, but they may try it if you say it’s necessary before eating candy.
4. Limit candy consumption
Last year I tried to be a cool mom by letting my son gorge on as much candy as he wanted when he returned home from trick or treating. And for the first time in his life he passed out during bedtime stories before 9pm. For us, this was a huge deal because my son has never been one to “crash” and has always been a night owl.
He thinks this story is hilarious. I think it’s horrifying. And I’m not going to do it again.
This year, we’re going to have a healthy, fatty snack after trick-or-treating and maybe just a few pieces of candy. And it will be given this way for a few days until we decide what to do with the rest of the candy. Perhaps that will work for your family too.
Now the #5 tip, what do you do with all that candy?
5. Give the candy away
It’s hard to fully embrace a healthy lifestyle if you’re eating handfuls of leftover Halloween candy each day. To resolve this problem, consider…
Making a deal with your child – I know some parents who trade money for their candy, or toys for candy. There’s also the Switch Witch who leaves a special gift in exchange for piles of candy.
Donate the candy – Operation Gratitude collects candy through their Halloween Candy Give-back for deployed troops & first responders. You can find a participating company, club, or dentist in your area at this link. Here in Redwood City, CA Roy Dental is one of the donation spots.
Dump it – my son usually forgets about the candy after a few days, so I just keep a handful and either throw the rest out (because really, candy is not good for anyone), or my husband takes it to work. This year, we’ll try to donate it.
How do you deal with the sugar overload during Halloween? Do you have any rules for your family about candy? We’d love to hear how you manage! Please let us know your own tips for a healthy Halloween!