Halloween, though not a holiday, is a favorite time of year for children and some adults. What other time of year can you dress up, dress down, and bring out your alter ego, party, and eat candy!! Americans spends millions of dollars on Halloween candy; we just love the look on the little goblins faces when they get a treat! This is so much fun but what are we really contributing to? Is all that candy really a treat or actually a trick?
Candy, though it tastes good and can take the edge off of hunger at times, is loaded with sugar, fat, and calories and carries no nutritional value. The sugar content not only make you gain weight but increases insulin levels and wreaks havoc on the cardiovascular system by raising blood pressure – putting you at risk for stroke and heart attack.
If you are healthy, eating candy once in a while will not cause major damage. In fact, some candies may actually be considered healthy enough to eat. Chocolate has been found to reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart disease and cavities. Chocolate contains antioxidants that help fight chronic disease as well as tannins that help fight cavities. It is still advisable not to eat candy including chocolate regularly.
Some tips to keep Halloween safe:
Make sure children eat a healthy meal before going trick-or-treating and drink plenty of water. If your child feels full, they may not want the candy later. Select what candies can be eaten and limit the remainder. “Keep in mind the average jack-o-lantern bucket fits about 250 pieces of small candy that could easily add up to 9,000 calories, 200 grams of fat and 1,500 grams of sugar. The trick is to make sure kids don’t overindulge in too many treats. Kids need more fruits, vegetables, fiber and protein for optimal health. And, be sure to brush teeth afterwards.” http://www.todaystmj4.com/features/lauriemeyer/45696357.html
Adults, too, should limit sugar. Cleveland Clinic suggests:
- Zero in on the sources. Look at the 2 teaspoons of sugar in your morning coffee, that sweetened cereal you like, your daily iced tea or soda at work and those cookies in your child’s lunch.
- Consider cutting back on each one. Opt for black coffee, less sugary cereals topped with fresh fruit, and unsweetened iced tea or water; pack seasonal fruit in your kid’s lunch.
- Be a sugar detective at the grocery store. Scan every food label for these “key words” for added sugars: brown rice syrup, brown sugar, cane sugar, crystallized/evaporated cane sugar, confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup, corn sweetener, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), honey, malt and molasses.
- Give yourself an occasional treat. Enjoy a cookie or two — preferably homemade — in moderation. Don’t let sweets take center stage in your diet. Your body will soon learn to crave less sugar — and your health and your waistline will benefit!
Have a safe and healthy Halloween!