Halloween is a great time to dress up, go trick or treating, pass on traditions and indulge in sweets. No matter how you’re celebrating, one thing that’s certain is the availability of Halloween treats. Grocery stores are packed with all kinds of candies and sweet treats, which can be hard to resist whether you’re a child or an adult.
Halloween candy can be spookily tempting, but too much sugar can harm your health. This year, make Halloween healthier by making informed decisions. The following suggestions can help you and your kids have a healthier Halloween.
Beware of the Hidden Risks of Overeating Sugar
It’s only natural to want to indulge yourself when Halloween candy and other delicacies are so readily available. But watch out for being tricked into a sugar rush. Eating too many high-sugar foods can cause obesity and weight gain, which can raise the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Even a single day of abnormally high added sugar consumption (like Halloween) may trigger a short-term surge in blood sugar and insulin levels. It can lead to increased cravings, energy swings, and acute inflammation.
It’s best to choose treats that take longer to consume, such lollipops, as these will inherently slow down your candy consumption and prevent you from overdoing it if you or your kids have trouble controlling your sugar intake.
Keep in Mind that not all Sugars are Created Equal.
Speaking of sugar, the American Heart Association (AHA) warns that added sugars are different from natural sugars. Even foods that you might not consider to be exceptionally sweet have sugar added by food makers to entice your taste buds. According to the AHA, examples include brown or white sugar, honey, and high fructose corn syrup.
On the other hand, natural sugars are exactly that — naturally occurring — and because they are present in whole foods, they also contain other important nutrients. According to the AHA, natural sugars can be found in fruit and dairy.
So how much sugar is too much sugar? Feel free to munch on sources of natural sugar if you don’t have any existing medical concerns, such as diabetes. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises keeping your daily intake of added sugar to less than 10% of total calories. Thus, if you’re consuming 2,000 calories per day, you should limit your intake of added sugar to 200 calories, or about 12 teaspoons, each day (tsp). The AHA suggests men should only consume 6 tsp of salt and women should not consume more than 9 tsp.
Limit Alcohol and Avoid Dehydration
Even for just one night, binge drinking can result in an electrolyte imbalance that causes dehydration and decreased energy.
Alcohol is also a source of empty calories, and when you drink, those calories can pile up quickly and contribute to weight gain. Additionally, you can experience lower energy, an increased appetite and desire for calorie-rich foods that are rich in fat and sugar, as well as gastrointestinal issues,” which can be disastrous for your body.
Alternating alcoholic drinks with a glass of water will help you pace your drinking while also preventing dehydration. Additionally, keep in mind that not all drinks are created equal in terms of alcohol content and serving size. The CDC’s infographic shows the drink equivalents for some popular types of alcohol. Last but not least, fill your refrigerator in advance with wholesome and simple-to-prepare items if you are concerned about a hangover so you won’t be tempted to grab for the day-old Halloween treats.
Get Creative with Healthy Alternatives
Choose in-season fruits and vegetables, such as apples and sweet potatoes, while looking for nutritious snacks and treats to indulge in during the Halloween season. According to the AHA, many fresh produce items contain the delightful natural sugars so substituting fruits and veggies might help you fulfil your sweet desire while simultaneously consuming important nutrients.
Families should try creating some lovely Greek Yogurt Banana Ghost Pops or veggie loaded monster muffins, which are a terrific way to get the whole family engaged in making Halloween a little healthier.
Finally, Don’t Deprive Yourself during Halloween
Halloween is a time when you might want to tell yourself to abstain from sweets or all added sugar, but not only is that impractical, it could also lead to increased food cravings because of deprivation feelings.
Focus on what to contribute rather than what to restrict. Eating a few pieces of candy with a platter of whole fruits and nuts can be a healthy approach to satisfy your sweet tooth without triggering additional desires.
Consult a doctor if you believe you may have a problem with controlling your sugar intake so they can help you manage it better.