October has arrived and the countdown to Halloween has begun. Dressing up in costumes, carving pumpkins, scary movies and parties are all part of the holiday fun. Unfortunately, so is lots and lots of sugar!
Just one Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup contains a whopping 105 calories. Some news sources estimate that children consume between 3500 and 7000 calories from Halloween candy each year; the equivalent to 3 cups of sugar. That’s almost 16 times the maximum daily recommendation suggested by the American Heart Association. Too much candy equates to a high sugar and fat intake. And all that sugar contributes to tooth decay, weight gain and overall poor nutrition.
Halloween doesn’t have to sabotage your healthy lifestyle, though. With a little self-control and creativity, it’s possible to celebrate with little to no sugar, and still enjoy the holiday.
Eat a Healthy Dinner Before Going Out for the Evening
Whether you’re off to a Halloween party or trick-or-treating, filling up on a healthy dinner before you leave will help you resist the temptation to snack on too much candy or sugary treats while you’re out. Filling up on nutritional foods leaves less room in your belly for the unhealthy stuff. Foods with lots of protein and fiber will keep you satisfied all night long.
Choose Alternative Treats
Trick-or-Treaters can score more than just candy. Seek out houses giving out healthy snacks like peanuts, pretzels and popcorn or nonedible trinkets. Most younger kids are just as delighted to receive glow sticks, bubbles and stickers. And small toys are also ideal for kids with allergies.
Donate or Trade In Candy
If you do go trick-or-treating and collect a few pounds of candy, that doesn’t mean you have to eat it. You can enjoy the fun of the going door to door, and then donate or trade in the candy received. It’s not uncommon for dental practices to buy back Halloween candy or parents might opt to have kids trade the candy to them for a prize. Donating candy to a worthwhile group is another option. Organizations like Operation Gratitude send donated candy to the troops overseas. If you do decide to keep the candy, throw out whatever is left after a week or two. After all, Thanksgiving pies and Christmas cookies will be served up before you know it.
Choose Sugar-free Candy
Traditional gummies, suckers, caramels and sour candies are terrible for the teeth. Not only to they pose a problem for those who wear braces, but they stay in contact with the tooth longer, promoting cavity formation. Sour candies are acidic and wear away tooth enamel. While chocolate is a better option, sugar-free candies are the best choice. Stevita’s Hard Candies and stevia-sweetened chewing gum are satisfying, tooth-friendly alternatives.
End Halloween with a Healthy Snack
If you indulged in a little sugar, it’s always a good idea to end the evening with some water, which will help rinse some of the sugar off the teeth until you can brush and floss. A little cheese and some apple slices will also help to balance blood sugar, and neutralize acid in the mouth.
Without all the sugar not only will your Halloween be happy, but November 1 will be too!