One of the favorite nights of the year for many North Americans is Halloween. It’s also one of the scariest, not because of the witches and goblins or walking skeletons, but due to the abundance of the evil one, sugar. According to Lona Sandon, Med, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, “All it takes is an additional 100 calories a day or the equivalent of one snack-sized chocolate bar and most adults will experience weight creep before they even know it.”1
What about the effect sugar has on children? Dr. B.J. Hardick, author of Maximized Living Nutrition Plans, which is used in more than 500 health clinics, states, “A study found that preschoolers who consumed ultra-processed foods had higher blood lipid levels, a marker for many health concerns including cardiovascular issues later on. Amassing candy, and keeping it around, isn’t exactly the foundational habit that the health conscious parent wants their kid to develop, knowing that each bite plays a part in their future health.”2
Common sense dictates that any health conscious adult who revels in Halloween would stick to creative costumes and fun activities but cut out the candy. As for the traditional trick-or-treaters that come to your door, they may not care about their health, but do you want it on your conscience that you’re helping children to increase their risk of tooth decay and to develop poor eating habits? Instead of candy loaded with sugar, give a healthy snack instead!
The original trick-or-treaters in the Middle Ages went door to door begging for food or money, not candy, in exchange for songs and prayers. In more recent years, health conscious people are known to give trinkets, coins and sugar-free snacks in lieu of candy.
“Research shows just looking at food triggers the circuitry in our brains that makes us imagine eating it,” says Susan Albers, PsyD, author of Eating Mindfully.3 So the trick to eating the right treat is two-fold.
- Don’t buy candy. If it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind.
- Grab a healthy treat. Give one to a trick-or-treater and eat one yourself instead of a candy bar!
Eating mindfully helps solidify Active Wellness!