By Gia de Picciotto
Halloween is right around the corner. It’s a time for our kids to dress up as their favourite character and walk around to every house collecting candy from our neighbours. However, I do things a little bit differently.
I am absolutely certain that next week, I will have a friend who suggests that I am the Scrooge who stole Halloween. Why Scrooge? Well I don’t allow my kids to scarf down handfuls of processed candy and then feel violently ill from a sugar overdose. But I can assure you, my kids will have fun. I won’t be telling them no to everything and I won’t be giving the trick-or-treaters who come to our door green juice and apples, but, we will have some alternatives to typical individually wrapped options handed out. Those traditional treats are a nutritional nightmare. In two fun-sized Snicker’s bars, there are 17 grams of sugar!
To keep my kids satisfied on Halloween and our neighbour’s children away from the sugar-packed treats, I often give out the purest packaged chocolate I can find. To switch it up I also hand out granola bars that contain less than five ingredients, small packs of chocolate covered rice cakes, gluten-free pretzels, bags of dried fruit, and air popped popcorn. Not sounding fun? Trust me, the kid who devours all the caramels and gummies while walking down the street will be delighted to have something whole to munch on after an hour!
Sometimes it’s tough being the “healthy” mom. The kids, and even other parents, roll their eyes a bit, but I know and now my kids know that ultimately, they’ll feel better. I am now even seeing my kids share their healthy snacks with their friends. Some people think I’m crazy and mean, but my kids are happy and healthy, and never binge on junk food.
There are lots of us out there who work so hard to cut out refined sugars, dyes, and high fructose corn syrups, to cook and provide a largely plant-based diet all year long. Let’s not abandon all of our efforts on Halloween.
Here are 3 helpful tips to keep the refined sugars to a minimum this Halloween:
1.) Accept that there will be some junk and make a deal with your kids. Allow them to enjoy a few of the traditional Halloween treats but to keep it to a minimum and prevent them from feeling sick, swap some treats for fun trinkets like tattoos and vampire teeth.
2.) Set the example by sharing treats that are made from whole ingredients without artificial flavours, colours and trans fats. Kids need to be exposed to different things and parents need to learn that treats don’t have to mean candy.
3.) Don’t be afraid to be “that” house. There are quite a few of us out there to help you.