Have A Healthy Halloween
- Tuesday, 07 October 2008
This Halloween, treat the little superheroes, princesses, and monsters that knock on your door to something healthy. A “Healthy Halloween” may sound like an oxymoron, but it is possible to go through the festivities relatively unscathed.
Perhaps you don’t feel guilty handing out sugary snacks that may be filled with dyes, preservatives, and hydrogenated fats to someone else’s child. Halloween, however, doesn’t have to be an excuse for a sugar binge. If you prefer to hand out customary food items, there are plenty of healthy and eco-friendly treats available that won’t break the bank.
When buying edible Halloween treats, be sure to read labels. Look for organic, all-natural ingredients. Purchase candy without artificial dyes, colors, flavors, or preservatives. Check the label for ingredients like organic evaporated cane juice or organic dark chocolate, natural flavors such as natural vanilla flavor (instead of vanillin) or natural peppermint flavor, and natural colors derived from fruits, vegetables, spices (like turmeric) or other plant sources.
Consider going a step further by purchasing Fair Trade goods and products that are sealed in recycled, recyclable, or compostable packaging. Did you know some candy companies donate a portion of their sales to environmental causes? Support them any way that you can.
Healthy ‘trick or treat’ candy options include organic chocolate bars and other natural treats. You won't have any disappointed trick-or-treaters with Fair Trade, organic dark chocolate, all-natural gummy bears, organic chocolate-covered raisins or almonds, organic licorice bars, all-natural chewing gum, and agave or honey sticks.
Or, treat children to a delicious fiber-rich treat like granola bars, individual packages of granola and trail mix, and snack-sized packages of organic, whole-grain crackers or cookies. Other options that should ease your conscience include snack-sized boxes of organic raisins or other dried fruit, organic fruit leather, organic applesauce snack packs, and organic juice boxes.
“Trick or Treat”
Instead of handing out candy, have you considered non-edible trinkets that children can wear or play with? Party supply stores sell fun loot-bag items that are welcome in treat bags. Look for stickers, temporary tattoos, neon spin-tops, yo-yo’s, bracelets, and collectable cards. Fun Halloween themed toys like rubber spiders, snakes or lizards, bouncy eyeballs, skull or bat rings, Jack O’Lantern necklaces, or anything that glows in the dark are inexpensive and won’t cause blood sugars to spike! Before buying, verify plastic toys are made with recycled materials.
Organic or not, sugar usually has a deleterious effect on children. A child gorging on their newly acquired treats is the scariest part of Halloween for parents. Rather than being the candy-police, however, try this. Feed children a protein or fiber-rich meal before they eat candy. This slows the rate of sugar absorption into the blood. Even better, entice your children to trade their sweets for non-edible treats like DVDs, action figures, or other coveted items. WARNING: don’t give into those treats yourself!
Whatever candy or toys you decide to give out or if you are trick or treating with your own children, have a Great, Green Halloween!