It’s officially that time of year again. Halloween is here and will launch us into the months ahead, which include numerous sugar-laden holidays.
Halloween encompasses so much more than just the sweet treats we associate it with. The costumes, haunted houses, pumpkin carving, and eerie atmosphere all contribute to this memorable night.
To be honest, Halloween is my favorite holiday. While I may be somewhat biased because it is my birthday, I truly think I would look forward to it just as much if it wasn't. I love the entire idea of the holiday beginning when autumn comes knocking on our doors. The cool crisp air and the changing of the leaves signify a new chapter of the year, a time to start as fresh as the morning breeze. To this day, I still look forward to the decorating, especially stringing the fake cobwebs and placing noise and fog machines through our lawn cemetery. You have to admit, there is something very alluring about this holiday.
Who wouldn’t want to dress up with the opportunity to be anyone or anything while getting candy from complete strangers. What’s not to love?
The issue that I find with Halloween (and the several holidays to follow) is when it turns into more treats than tricks. Unfortunately, the constant bombardment of chocolate and other sweetened goodies may eventually yield a cascade of health issues for you.
Not to be a buzzkill but it is important to recognize the impact that those mini candy bars have on your body, especially when those bite-sized pieces so easily turn from one or two, to four or five or ten.
Here's some spooky information to keep in mind and some tips for celebrating this fun holiday in a healthy way!
The Haunted Truth About Candy:
- Did you know that sugar has nearly the same effect on the brain as cocaine? It actually triggers the same reward centers as drugs, therefore making it quite addictive. Have you ever noticed how you have more sugar cravings after giving into your sweet tooth?
- According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, we eat nearly 25 pounds of candy per person each year!
- Excessive sugar consumption is a major contributing factor in the rising obesity rates. It is alarming to realize that the average child will accumulate anywhere between 3,500 and 7,000 calories of candy while trick-or-treating!
Tips For A Healthier Halloween:
- Embrace all aspects of the holiday: carve pumpkins and collect the seeds from inside. Roast the seeds to create a delicious and festive snack alternative.
- Before going to a party where you know you will indulge, whip up a protein shake (below is a new pumpkin flavored one we enjoy) or have a snack containing higher protein and fat levels to stave off hunger and to combat the excess carbohydrates.
- On Halloween night be sure to wear comfortable shoes so you can walk with your kids and increase your step count for the day. Extra exercise for extra calories.
- Change your conception of Halloween treats. Try some new recipes such as fruit leathers, a trail mix of whole grain cereals, or pack tangerine pumpkins for lunch.
- When handing out treats, more isn’t always better. Also try handing our small toys kids can play with.