If you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle Halloween can be a serious challenge! It’s especially difficult if you have children to feed, who are usually more interested in candy than celery! In this post I want to share a few ideas with you on how to find some balance and have a healthy Halloween.
The kids are revving their engines, in anticipation of that moment when we let them loose on the neighborhood to collect candy! This holiday is truly one of the high points of their year. Knock on the door, smile, say “trick-or-treat,” get candy, repeat. It doesn’t get much better for kids! As a parent who is aware of the health epidemics taking over America, because of our culture’s poor diet, what do you do to have a healthy Halloween…or at least healthiER?
I think the key to a healthy Halloween is balance! My children will be eating 4 pieces of candy (the “fun size”). That’s a LOT of sugar for one day, but remember that it’s only one day! Last year my two older children actually regretted having that much, because it made them feel a little sick! To balance out the end of the day sugar frenzy, make sure to set out healthy snacks for the kids to munch on earlier in the day. Have you ever noticed that kids will grab whatever food is easily available as they walk by the kitchen? If you set out their favorite fruits and veggies they’ll graze on them all day! My kids like celery, carrots, and cucumber, and if I set out a cutting board full of them in the morning they will be gone by dinnertime. You can also set out a bowl of nuts or roasted pumpkin seeds. If your kids are picky about their veggies set out a small dish of Organic Ranch Dressing or Sunbutter next to them. Your kids may eat extra sugar on Halloween, but if they’ve at least filled up on veggies earlier in the day, you’ve given their bodies more nutrients to be able to process the sugar! (By the way, I recommend setting out fruits and veggies every day, not just Halloween…and you can munch, as well).
The Glycemic Index measures not only how much sugar is in particular foods, but how quickly it enters your blood stream. It is better for your liver and pancreas (the body parts primarily responsible for processing sugar) to spread out the sugar intake. One way to do that is to let the kids eat a couple of their candies towards the beginning of trick-or-treating, then a couple more at the end. The other benefit to spreading the candy out this way is that your kids will be walking around after they eat the first 2 pieces. Exercising forces the sugar in the blood stream to be used up by the muscles. It will help to not overwhelm their systems! If you are “helping” the kids eat their stash, this trick would be useful for you, too!
Another tip to ensure a healthy Halloween is to fill up on nutritious food before you and/or the kids indulge in the candy. We usually eat pumpkin chili for dinner, which is made with beans, pumpkin, turkey meat, and veggies. It is very filling and very healthy. If you also keep roasted pumpkin seeds around for snacking after the trick-or-treating, it’ll help curb your appetite for the sweets.
One final tip I have is for the parents! I will be looking forward to a quick, healthy treat after my kids go down on Halloween. That way I won’t be tempted to eat candy while they enjoy theirs. For me, candy isn’t an option! I’ve worked hard to keep my blood sugar levels down without drugs, and I intend to keep it that way! My favorite quick and easy bedtime Fall snack is Pumpkin Spice Paleo Sipping Cocoa. In that recipe I have you cook the entire thing on your stove top, but if you are only making 1 or 2 servings, just place your ingredients in a glass measuring cup, microwave for about a minute, then whisk them all together. Definitely use the xylitol, instead of coconut sugar, to keep the carbs down! Enjoy!
Note: If you want to learn more about sugar, how it affects the body, and how to eat a healthy diet, I highly recommend The End of Diabetes: The Eat to Live Plan to Prevent and Reverse Diabetes, by Dr. Fuhrman! I recommend this book frequently, because I think it can help a lot of people! Dr. Fuhrman is a vegan, and even though I’m not, I still learned a lot from him!
I want to invite you to join with others who are making healthy changes, if you haven’t done so already. I’d love to walk alongside you in your journey towards wholeness and health! Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full!” Freedom from food addictions is part of having a truly full life.