Well I am sure I actually didn’t scare you there. I did, however, want to get your attention. Halloween is just around the corner and it is time we had a true heart-to-heart about the candy … more on that in a minute.
First of all let’s look at some of the facts. The candy has been on sale since mid-July (I love early marketing – don’t you?). I know the candy marketers want you to have easy access to the candy before, during, and after Halloween. You have done your best to avoid those tempting little treats, but have a couple now and again isn’t such a big deal – or is it?
In a couple of days the little ghosts, witches, Justin Biebers and Honey Boo Boos will soon be knocking at your door. And as the custom goes – you will dispense said treats into a bag bulging at the seams with candy. And as the custom goes – you probably bought too much candy and have to get rid of the treats that remain in the house. But, what are you to do with the leftovers? Save them for next year?
Let’s be honest here .. we are having a heart-to-heart .. they will be eaten until they are gone.
Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that candy isn’t a health food by any stretch of the imagination. In fact I literally think everyone knows that candy isn’t good for you. It is contributing to the obesity and diabetes epidemic and it is highly addictive. What I do find interesting is why we actually do the candy thing in the first place. I do know it is tradition. I do know that it is fun to dress up. And I do know that our tongues, taste buds, and our brain loves the candy reward. But, is it possible there is a better way?
Turns out there is, and it is what Stephen Covey calls ‘a third option.’
By ‘third option’ I simply mean that the kids expect candy, but you know that it isn’t the best choice for them. So there must be a way that the kids can feel like they have had an amazing time dressing up and getting treats – AND you help them (and yourself) keep the sugar load to a minimum.
Considering that Halloween is all about creativity and imagination why don’t we put our thinking caps on (don’t worry it is part of the costume) and see if we can indeed come up with a third option. When we start to get creative we can find lots of non-candy trick-or-treat options – bouncy balls, raisins, stickers, temporary tattoos, etc. The dollar store is filled with inexpensive ideas. And yet, for most people that just doesn’t seem to register as an option these days – so we go off to a super-grocery-store to buy the economy pack of M&M’s, Snickers, Kit Kat’s, and Milky Way’s all the while knowing things are going to end badly. The kids are exposed to enough kryptonite – think sugar – to take down Superman, and you eat enough candy before, during and after Halloween that the bathroom scale seems to be in hiding.
I am not trying to be mean or take the fun out of this holiday. I just think that we can do better.
Just 5 Bars?
Let’s look at some more facts. The little mini Halloween candy bars look innocuous enough. They are so tiny and cute aren’t they? Well let’s put them in context. If you buy a regular sized Snickers bar you’re looking at about 270 calories, 14 grams of fat (and we’re not talking the good kind here), 35 grams of carbohydrate and 29 grams of sugar (that’s roughly 7 tsps). Now let’s say you have the ‘cute’ size and justify eating 4 or 5 of them (let’s be real here folks, they’re small and we all know that over the course of the evening it’s going to happen…or more!). When we do the math for 5 of them you are staring at about 320-400 calories, 16-20 grams of funky fat, 42-53 grams of carbs, and 35-42 grams of sugar (that’s between 9-11 tsps). The damage to you and the kids adds up fairly quickly.
I want you to consider one other ‘trick’ of Halloween. How much does the average kid weigh that comes to the door? How much do you weigh? Is there a difference? You are darn right there is. A kid eating 5 mini candy bars just got a ‘dose’ of sugar per pound of body weight that far exceeds your ‘dose’ per pound. That is why you have a kids ‘dose’ of Tylenol right? They are smaller than us.
And let’s be honest about another ‘trick of the treats’ – we never eat just 5 do we? We eat them until they are gone. Maybe not all in the same night, but they do get eaten.
If you are having trick-or-treaters stop at the house consider giving out ‘healthy’ or non-food treats to avoid the temptation of having a bowl of treats in the house. Here are a few ideas: Pencils, stickers, crayons, temporary tattoos, bouncy balls, etc., all make great options! Alternately, choose to ‘not be home’ or don’t answer the door and avoid the scene all together.
Um, yeah, but I’ve got kids…
If Halloween is going to happen regardless of your good intentions there are still ways to minimize the damage. You can arrange a ‘Healthy Halloween’ party for your little goblins. Bob for apples, paint or carve pumpkins, do face painting, and offer scary, but good-for-you treats like: cauliflower brains, hard boiled eggs, and grape or olive eyeballs, carrot fingers with red food colouring, raisin bugs, and chocolate covered turkey-bacon snakes. Oh, and don’t forget the spaghetti squash guts. The list goes on …
A sense of healthy community is important. Get together with friends and neighbors who agree with you and want to give out non-candy treats. Map out trick-or-treat stops to these places and avoid a sack full of sugar. And if you do end up with a bunch of creepy candy encourage your child to ‘sell it’ back to you or an area dentist office for money or prizes more lucrative than licorice and lollipops!
The Scrooge of Halloween
Some of you might be thinking – seriously, no candy on Halloween? I do know it just doesn’t really seem fair does it. I will leave you with a sobering thought. Obesity and diabetes continue to escalate out of control and sugar is more addictive than cocaine.
There can be a third option, but it is up to you to make it happen. It is time to put that thinking cap on and wave your creativity wand! Without sugar there can still be a Happy Halloween!!Read More →