Naturopathic Doctor Jacqueline Cooper wrote an excellent blog post about how to enjoy Hallowe'en in the most healthy way possible. Here is the link: http://blog.naturopathicfoundations.ca/2012/10/healthy-halloween.html
And, here is the content:
Hallowe’en can be a challenge for parents who are conscientious about their children’s health and diet. If you spend most of the year avoiding junk food, what to do when your child comes home after a night of trick or treating with a sack of it?
Here are some approaches to making sure that this Hallowe’en is a healthier one.
- Just a teaspoon of sugar can suppress the immune system for over 6 hours. In light of this, consider giving your child’s immune system some extra support. Three days before, start your child on Deep Immune for Kids and/or Oscillococcinum. Talk to your naturopathic doctor about recommended dosages or for specific options for your child.
- Don’t buy Halloween candy until a couple days before. This will eliminate any temptation of snacking that may exist if the candy is lying around the house for a few weeks prior to.
- One of the main goals in keeping Halloween healthy is to mitigate the effects of the sugar consumed after trick-or-treating. To do this, ensure your child eats a healthy dinner comprised of protein and lots of vegetables before leaving the house to trick-or-treat. Avoid refined, simple starches such as rice, noodles or potatoes as these will cause blood sugar to spike, creating an additive effect with any candy they consume later that evening. Also, make sure they are well hydrated with an adequate amount of water.
- Make sure costumes don’t take precedence over dressing appropriately for the weather! Pay special attention, to the throat and lower back making sure these areas in particular are kept warm and covered.
- Choose healthier snack options to give out at your house such as almonds, sesame snacks, gogi berries, protein bars or dark chocolate covered fruit. Also, consider giving out non-food treats such as stickers, fun pens or pencils, small bottles of bubbles, squishy stress balls, mini-card decks, etc. Party or dollar stores often have a great selection of small toy items. You can also check out the website Green Halloween for a plethora of treat ideas (both food and non-food options). http://greenhalloween.org/content.php?page=treats
- Recognize that not all treats are created equal, and that there is a health hierarchy that applies to junk food as well. Potato chips are better than chocolate bars, due to the lack of sugar and the relatively lower blood sugar spike that they provoke. Chocolate bars however, are better than hard candies, which are often filled with artificial colouring and additives. As, you sort through your child’s candy, arrange treats in piles from healthiest to least healthy, completely removing any foods that your child has a sensitivity towards.
- After deciding which treats you are comfortable with, let the kids eat what they want for three days and then get rid of the remaining candy. This is important, larger servings of junk food over the course of a few days is far less damaging to a child’s health than a steady stream of smaller daily doses that go on for weeks.
- When sorting through your child’s candy, involve them in the process and explain the rationale behind limiting the amount and types of candy you allow them to consume. Some children are amenable to getting rid of the extra candy when they understand the health ramifications. For those who are not, parents have a number of options. One option is negotiate a trade for the candy. Compensation could come in the form of something material (a toy or spending money) or perhaps something non-material like a special privilege. This can offset any feelings of resentment or disappointment.
Some of the health concerns to expect with increased sugar intake are difficulties with sleep, hyperactive behavior, diminished concentration, digestive symptoms, outbreaks of skin conditions in those predisposed, compromised immune function and therefore greater propensity to developing a cold or flu.
Strategies you can employ to counteract the effects of sugar include:
· Having your child take their immune support for one week following Hallowe’en, even longer if your child's immune system is weakened or if they seem to be dealing with a cold or flu.
· If your child is taking a fish oil, double the dose as this will help lessen potential hyperactivity, restlessness or difficulty sleeping.
· If your child is on a multi-vitamin double the dose for the week following as it will assist in balancing out the impact of food that is calorie-dense and nutrient-deficient.
· Homeopathic liver support also provides a beneficial boost to the body’s pathways of elimination, helping to more effectively restore balance to the system and decreasing the digestive or skin impact of a lot of junk food. Talk to your naturopathic doctor to see if this is advisable for your child.
Another important health reason to limit the candy consumption to a few days following Halloween is thatrepeated exposures of sweets over a long period of time (even in small portions) is more damaging to your teeth than a greater amount consumed in a short period. Provide additional oral protection, by stepping up your children’s oral hygiene regimen. Make sure they spend extra time brushing and flossing post-candy consumption.
Remember Hallowe’en can be healthy AND fun. A moderate amount of holiday indulgence, buffered by a few extra health measures ensures both short and long term health and happiness.