For most, avoiding sugar foods is a challenge given the hundreds of “foodie days” and major “candy holidays.” Candy holidays like Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and of course the big one – Halloween, are for most especially challenging times to hold the line on calories.
For those trick-or-treating door to door, a haul of 10,000 to 20,000 calories is an easy night’s work. While there are alternatives to trick-or-treating, most will find even the alternatives tilted toward extra sugar foods.
To minimize the urge to overdo sugar foods, eat a good meal before heading off for your Halloween venue. When kids are full before they go out, then they will eat fewer pieces of candy afterwards.
Of course, children that generally eat well all year long will survive just fine with their occasional overindulgences. Still, it’s a good idea to limit daily consumption. A plan to have only a few pieces a day is best. The key is moderation.
If you’re the treat giver, consider more wholesome alternatives. For most the appeal is as much about appearance as what is on the inside. For example, cheddar popcorn balls in a plastic baggie with a smiling face can be a hit. Make the treat novel and with luck they won’t miss the sugar.
Regardless of the treat, excess calories still need to be burned off. If you go trick-or-treating make a game of walking with a reward for meeting expected pedometer counts. Use the opportunity to talk about how many steps are needed to work off the calories in one piece of candy.
There is danger in having piles of candy lying around after Halloween. Reports of parents indulging while children are at school are not unheard. Of course you wouldn’t do this – just sayin’ danger lurks when piles of candy are left unattended.
Regardless of your preferred October 31st tradition, keep it fun, keep it safe and join me for a walk to use a few of those holiday calories.
Nancy Neighbors, MD