Trick or Treat: Better Than Candy!
- Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Children love Halloween. With so many costumes and gifts, who wouldn’t? Parents might not. This season can disrupt a conscious routine of healthy eating. We know sugar is not a healthy food choice and can be damaging, especially in large amounts. Is there a healthier way to participate in these festivities and hope our children won’t notice? Here are a few suggestions for a healthier Halloween.
Purchase organic whole food treats. Studies show pesticides and chemicals in conventional foods can burden the immune system and cause neurological and developmental disorders. Children have a harder time ridding the body of ingested pesticides because their bodies are smaller and growing. Organic foods do not contain these chemicals and pesticides. Examples of whole, organic foods available at your local health food store include fruit leathers, nuts and seeds, granola bars, dried fruit, fruit juices, and whole grain crackers.
Refrain from giving children refined sugar. Refined sugars may impair the digestive system and cause a number of ailments, especially when taken in large doses. Eating too much refined sugar can rob the body of vitamins, minerals and proteins. The body’s immune system can also become weakened which often leads to sickness, colds and cavities. Fructose, corn syrup, sucrose and sugar are some of the many types of refined sugar. This Halloween choose organic lollipops and candies sweetened with unrefined sugars like real fruit juice, evaporated cane juice, Stevia, or honey. These unrefined sugars are just as sweet, if not more, and also contain trace amouts of minerals and nutrients.
Offer children a treat they don’t eat. A small toy, pencil, or pencil crayon can be very enjoyable for a child. Purchase a coloring book and give each Trick-or-Treater one page to color along with a pencil crayon. Consider building blocks or colorful beads and string to make a necklace to provide hours of fun that won’t cause cavities or upset stomachs. Your conventional candy bar can’t offer these benefits.
Keep candy out of children’s reach. Children may consider the candy they have gathered to be theirs and not yours. You as the parent, however, ultimately make the decisions. This means protecting them from all things harmful …including too much of their Halloween candy. Children should not be expected to limit their sugar intake and be responsible for the consequences of eating too much. Put candies out of their reach and you decide when it is a good time to have one. For young children, on top of the fridge or on a high shelf in the cupboard may be a good location. Explain what you are doing and why. Doing this may also start a dialogue about eating habits and what amount of sugar is acceptable.
Hopefully these suggestions will encourage you to come up with even more ideas to make this “sweet” holiday a healthy one. Feel great about making responsible choices, and have fun! Happy Halloween!
Sheppard, J. Retrieved at http://www.healthychild.com/childrens-toxic-environment.htm
Appleton, N. Retrieved at http://rheumatic.org/sugar.htm