written by Elizabeth of Pure Simple Wellness
As a Holistic Health Coach, I have a love-hate relationship with Halloween.
Hi I’m Elizabeth Girouard and am so honored to be guest blogging here from @PureSimpleWellness. Halloween is a lot of fun but all that candy doesn’t lend itself to a healthful start to the holiday season…
I love the fact that the kids all dress up and run around the neighborhood trick or treating. It’s good fun and a great excuse to visit the neighbors at large. I also look forward to our neighborhood parents gathering, where we enjoy wine and cider from the porch as we watch the kids run up and down the street.
As you can imagine, my ‘hate’ relationship comes from the pounds of candy that my children and all the rest of the kids receive on this day. We weighed the candy bags one year and the three of them collected nearly 150 pounds of candy! Let’s face it, there is NO WAY they are ever going to eat all of that candy (even if I did allow it)! The thought of it makes me cringe, given the amount of sugar, artificial dyes, preservatives, additives, and genetically modified ingredients, and the damage it can cause, particularly in our children. According to NielsenWire, in 2012, Americans purchased 600 million pounds of candy during the Halloween timeframe, which amounts to nearly 2 pounds of candy / person! I don’t want to think about how much ends up on our bellies and thighs!
Have you ever noticed that in early to mid-November people seem to get more colds? Studies indicate that sugar compromises our immune system, which can make us more susceptible to illness. So, think about that as you are snacking away on those Butterfingers!
At our house, we do not give out candy to the trick-or-treaters. This year, we will hand out glow bracelets and necklaces, which will be the perfect accompaniment for the dark. It will make the kids more visible to the cars as well. One year, my younger daughter told me that our house was ‘lame’ for handing out glow sticks. That was until she heard one of the neighborhood teenagers telling other kids in the street – “Go to the corner house. They are handing out purple glow necklaces!” Our house went from lame to cool in a matter of seconds! Another great option is 10 oz. water bottles. Kids work up a thirst as they run from house to house.
I am not a total spoil-sport; my kids go trick-or-treating and collect their pounds of candy. I don’t ask them how much they eat while they are out trick-or-treating, but I do have a few tips to share which I stick to before they go out.
Prior to trick-or-treating
- Buy the Halloween candy as close as possible to the day, so you don’t have the temptation lying around the house for too long. Or, purchase candy that you don’t like!
- On the night of, I load the kids up with protein, fat and as many vegetables as I can get them to eat. The goal is to fill them up, sothey have less room for sweets. It follows my concept of ‘crowding out’ the less nutritious foods!
- The kids drink a kombucha, which is a fermented tea rich in probiotics. In studies with lab rats, it has been shown to slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, which in turn reduces blood sugar levels (1). I would like to think the beneficial bacteria is eating up the excess sugar in their guts, but I haven’t been able to prove that yet. You can find kombucha in most supermarkets in the refrigerated case. My favorite is GTS Kombuchawhich they even carry at Costco. Just don’t shake it before opening or it may explode!
- I try and persuade my kids to ‘be reasonable’ – whatever that means. However, what they eat that day/night is their decision. I try not to think about it once they leave the house…
The day after Halloween, each of my kids pick his/her top favorites. Then, they negotiate with me how many pieces of candy they can keep – usually around 10-20! Then, I ‘buy’ the rest of the candy back from them. Last year, I offered a penny a piece, which of course didn’t fly. Instead, we agreed upon 10 cents a piece. From everyone’s perspective, it’s a win-win! Each child used the money to buy something frivolous that we wouldn’t normal indulge (but – not more candy!)
Here are a few more ideas on how to avoid your kids eating candy for months on end:
- Switch Witch: The Switch Witch is an invited guest who comes Halloween night while the kids are sleeping and switches your children’s Halloween candy with a video game or other welcomed present.
- Halloween Candy Buyback program, where many dentists give cash for candy, send it to Soldiers’ Angels who ship the candy, along with toothbrushes, to our troops abroad serving our country in holiday care packages. The price is usually $1 per pound up to 5 pounds.
- Save some to decorate Gingerbread houses for the holidays.
If you’re like me, I prefer to avoid temptation, so I donate the candy and get it out of the house within the next day or two. My motto is:
“Better for it to go to waste, then go to my waist.” Remember – more holidays are right around the corner with plenty of other temptations.
If you are self-diagnosed sugar addict, join my FREE 5-Day Challenge: Say Goodbye Sugar!
With one simple daily action step you will become more aware of your sugar consumption, learn some tools to reduce your daily sugar intake, and start to get off the endless sugar addiction cycle Click here to register: https://mailchi.mp/puresimplewellness/saygoodbyesugar
We begin on November 8th – perfect time to get back on track after Halloween and be prepared for the holiday season to come!