Healthy Halloween?

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Healthy Halloween?

 

Give Children Real Treats Instead of the Usual Sugary Path to Diabetes and Obesity!

Ok, my subtitle is rather strong, but I am passionate about reducing sugar consumption in this world so this is a timely reminder. I never give out anything with sugar in it at Halloween as I simply do not see it as a “treat” for children.

Halloween for me as a child was unusually healthy – unusual in the sense that the rest of my life was VERY unhealthy. (You can read more about me at the bottom of this article.)

The last few  years I have been making sure that my actions show how much I care for the welfare of the children in the community.

I invite you to join me in this endeavor to increase the wellness of children by not giving them candy filled with chemicals in the form of color and artificial flavoring and, of course, sugar. Most of these alternatives have zero calories!

healthy Halloween treats

This is a photo of my ‘Treats’ for Halloween last year.

Here are 13 great ideas to fill the baskets of  trick-or-treaters:

1.    Buy packages of stickers; give one page out at a  time
2.    Hair bands for the girls
3.    Little rubber balls
4.    Colored pens for the older  children
5.    Colored pencils and erasers
6.    Little notebooks
7.    Party favors like  whistles and hats
8.    Have a collection of pennies; let them  take a small handful. Not for very young children.
9.    Small  packages of raisins if you can find them
10.   Fruit leathers
11.    Key chains (cartoon character)
12.    Small packages of potato chips (check label to be sure it has only potato, oil  and salt) The salt will balance the sugar to some degree.
13.    Mini blowing bubbles, set of 100 (packaged for weddings)  may come open but are usually secure.

Plastic toys (small cars and trucks, water toys like boats, ducks) were on my list, but…. In recent years there have been recalls of toys made in China due to lead. Health Canada has asked the industry to stop using cadmium in their children’s products. There are chemicals in plastics.

Much of this can be found inexpensively at a discount or Dollar Store. When the children first see that there is no candy, it is fun – most of them are very excited to be getting something different and I even hear them yelling happily to their parents about the surprise. The only ones who are disappointed are the teenagers as the best that they get is a little notebook or pen and they are so addicted to sugar that it is a disappointment for them.

I enjoy seeing the excitement of the children and am always here to greet them with a smile, a gift and a compliment about their costumes.

halloween cand by theculinarygeek at flickr

 

If you think you are spoiling the children’s fun by not giving them candy then here are some facts to consider.

  • Among school age kids, the number who are overweight has doubled and the number who are obese has tripled over the past 15 years (Tremblay MS, Willms JD. Is the Canadian childhood obesity epidemic related to physical inactivity? International Journal of Obesity 2003; 27: 1100-1105.)
  • 1 in 3 school age kids is either overweight or obese in Canada today. 
  • More children suffer Type 2 diabetes.  Obesity is a major factor in Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to blindness.  A child who develops Type 2 as a young teenager will be coming down with complications at the peak of his or her productive life.
  • Disorders: Obesity  Studies also show that most organ systems are harmed by obesity in childhood. If a child has obesity, then she raises her chances of suffering the same health risks as obese adults. This means she may have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, increased heart rate, osteoarthritis, insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, diabetes, gallbladder disease and heartburn.
  • Every Canadian must play a part in battle against childhood obesity – NEWS RELEASE June 12, 2002 OTTAWA … With a rise in the prevalence of childhood obesity comes an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and several other chronic conditions.  The way to reduce the incidence of these conditions in children and youth is for physicians, families, and communities to work together,” adds Dr. LeBlanc, chair of the CPS Advisory Committee on Healthy Active Living for Children and Youth. “We have a responsibility to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge, opportunities, and facilities they need to stay healthy and active throughout their lives.” From:  http://www.cps.ca/english/index.htm

Also, we know that sugar promotes tooth decay.

Sugar’s major drawback is that it raises the insulin level, which inhibits the release of growth hormones, which in turn depresses the immune system.  Just eight teaspoons of sugar lowers the immune system 25% for 12 hours….that is the amount of sugar in one can of pop. 

Let’s care for our children’s health by reconsidering what we give them this Halloween. 

Let’s join together in  this. 

asha for halloween

Asha Fritz – daughter of Rand Fritz editor. Asha is now 21

My Own Story:

When I was a kid, Halloween was so different. In my opinion it was much more  fun and healthier. We went house to house singing out “Halloween Apples.” We  would get lots of apples, oranges, homemade cookies, homemade candy, peanuts, popcorn and of course lots  of candy. Candy back then did not have all the chemicals that are in it now.

Of course this all changed and we are not allowed to give out anything  homemade due to some very sad people doing the wrong thing with it.

In the past, whenever Halloween would come around, I would wonder what to  do.  I want the children to enjoy the day but I am concerned by all of the  cheap, chemical-sugar-filled candy that they collect and devour. Many years ago  I would buy packets of peanuts, but now we know many children are severely  allergic to them so that is not good choice.  Other years I found small  boxes of raisins, but in the past few years have not been able to find them.

Let’s  show our care for children’s health by treating them with healthy treats this Halloween.

Let’s  join together in  this.

For those of you having a Halloween party for your children here a  few healthy sweet recipes:

By | 2017-10-29T15:42:14+00:00 October 21st, 2010|Health News, Health Tips|8 Comments

About the Author:

I am the Founder and Author at Real Food For Life. Have been teaching cooking classes worldwide since 1982. Create original, healthy recipes and menus, which are gluten free and white sugar free. Also, the author of the GREEN means LEAN and Balance Your Body e-books. I turned a debilitating health crisis into a passion for helping others with healthy, sugar free, gluten free eating and cooking.

8 Comments

  1. Elizabeth October 22, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Great ideas.
    The unfortunate thing is that many of these inexpensive toys also have their own problems when it comes to their affect on health. We've seen the recalls of toys made in China due to lead. Recently Health Canada has asked industry to stop using cadmium in their childrens products. Then there's the chemicals in plastics.
    I remember as a child, my favourite was chocolate (dark)… okay, it still is. When people started putting coloured pencils in, it seemed good at first, but soon discovered two things. 1. the pencils were cheap and didn't work very well for laying down colour. 2. That most people didn't realize that if you drop pencils the "lead" inside tends to break, rendering the pencil useless.
    It seems that the best we can do is… well… to do our best to balance what we feel is important. We don't want to contribute to the "obesity epidemic" but we don't want to expose children to those other things either. I see a niche for some entrepreneurial spirit to be filled here.
    Chocolate (dark) can be healthy if not over done, and depending on ingredients. I have seen compostable mechanical pencils. Notebooks can be a great idea, and if you're crafty they aren't that hard to make yourself.
    Anyway, thanks for bringing that up. You bring up some very valid points that obviously need to be addressed.

  2. Randy October 22, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    This is a good reminder for us all. Halloween is the second largest buying time after Xmas. We can't control what the kids are eating (would not even  try) but we can raise awareness with our own small efforts and perhaps over time create consumer demand.

  3. Lauri October 30, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    I'm all for healthy choices but one day out of the year won't kill anyone.   When I was a kid I threw out the raisins I got and still would.  I don't like my kids eating junk candy but on Halloween it's all fun.  Can't take life too serious.  Also, junky toys, stickers just end up in the garbage.  Not good for the environment.  May as well put a stop to Halloween too.  There is always something bad people can find in any fun.   

  4. Diana October 30, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Lauri, I am not about making Halloween not fun.

    There are 5 beautiful baskets of things for all ages that are filled with things that most of them like. Many of the girls want to put the hair thing on right now except their costume won't let them. I find the children are excited to choose what they would like so it will not as likely end up in the garbage. I really do hear them running to their parents yelling out what they just got. The only ones who are disapointed are the older teenagers and I am not so worried about that. 

    I enjoy seeing the excitement of the children and am always here to greet them with a smile, a gift and compliments about their costumes.

    When I was a kid, Halloween was so different and in my opinion much more fun. We went to house to house singing out "Halloween Apples". We would get lots of apples, oranges, homemade cookies, homemade candy, peanuts, popcorn and of course lots of candy.  The candy back then did not have all the chemicals that is in it now.  All of this candy is not just for one day; it is eaten over weeks. 

  5. Carrie October 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    I’ve been handing out small gifts for years now. I usually get them from Target (do you have Target in Canada?) but like you said, any dollar store will have them. The kids usually say “cool” especially with the sticky frogs/spiders. If you must do candy, then chocolate types are better than the artificial color/flavor ones. Sadly, Halloween is more than one day of candy. Ever notice how many people get sick the first of November???? You are absolutely right about sugar turning off the immune system. It goes to sleep and allows the viruses to take over no problem! and don’t think the flu shot is going to protect you-it won’t.

  6. Kate October 21, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Great ideas. Can’t wait to make my goodie bags this year.

  7. Faye October 21, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Another thing to consider is *where* you buy these treats from. Walmart and other Made in China (no offense to Chinese people!) type retailers are best avoided. Buying second-hand would be best – the greenest product is one that already exists – Maybe one could try looking for cool used items at Salvation Army and the like, before buying new?

  8. Caroline November 1, 2011 at 1:58 am

    The older kids probably want beer and fags anyway… sorry.. being from the UK and watching the rising drink and smoking problems here when working late.. it’s shocking to see. Young people at university rolling around in the road after getting smashed (drinking)… so much sugar addiction, we need to offer good education from small and remove as much sugar from our diets as possible. Strong opinion I know but I am fed this morning:-)

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