It’s not just the fall air and costumes we love this time of year. If we are honest, we like to indulge in those mini-chocolate bars and candies as much as our kids, especially when they are so readily available! Are you one of those adults who buys their candy weeks in advance, only to have to restock before the big day because it’s all eaten – by you? Do you pilfer from your kids’ candy haul, all in the name of their health? It’s easy to get swept away in Halloween culture and candy, but it’s also important to note that this time of year doesn’t have to be frightful for your health.
Here are our InspireHealth Nutritionists’ Top 3 Tips for a Healthier Halloween – for Adults!
Limit Sugar Intake
The world of Halloween candy is a bit of a nutritional nightmare. Most of the “treats” we consume are chocked full of refined sugars. Refined sugar is not only devoid of nutritional value, but when we consume it, our body must pull nutrients from our stores in order to buffer it throughout our system, contributing to a nutritional deficit. Increased sugar consumption can also raise insulin levels, contribute to inflammation in the body and increase cancer cell proliferation. Additionally, sugar often does not act alone in these processed goodies and it is almost always paired with a myriad of artificial colours, flavours, altered fats, chemicals and preservatives, many originating from genetically modified crops. GMO’s are implicated in cancer development and growth, as are an abundance of other chemical additives wrapped in pretty packages. It is in our best interest to keep the quantity of our candy intake in check.
There are many healthier alternatives to processed candies that will satiate that sugar craving and even provide nutrients! Try dried tropical fruit, raisins, granola bars or the abundance of pumpkin themed pies and squares made with healthier sweeteners such as maple syrup or coconut sugar. Additionally, instead of purchasing candy, consider preparing spooky treats at home. This can be a great way to ensure quality ingredients and to enjoy time with the family, exploring recipes that are wholesome and exciting! Lastly instead of handing-out candy consider treats such as pencils, stickers, erasers, or bangles as fun and creative ways to celebrate.
Here’s our recipe for Coconut Cacao Bites, which just might be your family’s new favourite treat!
Remember, eating healthy is not about depriving yourself or your children of joy. If your diet is comprised mostly of vegetables, fruits and whole grains than it is more realistic that you can cope with a few pieces of candy if you so desire. It’s when the intake of treats becomes a staple part of your diet for the four weeks around Halloween (with a small break before the Christmas season) that we really need to be conscious of. Focus on your personal balance and practice limiting your intake of refined and processed foods of any variety.
Keep these tips in mind this Halloween and enjoy treating yourself and your loved ones with nourishment.
Angela Wright and Corie Kielbiski are Nutritionists at InspireHealth Vancouver and Victoria respectfully. They plan to celebrate this Halloween season with some crockpot pumpkin oats and 3 squares of dark chocolate. They can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org. Find recipes and more at www.inspirehealth.ca.