Take time now to prepare for a healthy and safe Halloween. According to a recent study, a trick-or-treater’s candy bag contains approximately 4,800 calories and 3 cups of sugar: which is equal to 145 teaspoons of sugar. Adults should consume no more than 6-9 teaspoons of sugar a day and children should consume no more than 4 teaspoons a day. High intake of added sugars is implicated in numerous poor health conditions, including obesity, high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
If you’re going to give out candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween, buy the day before to reduce temptation throughout the week or buy a kind that is not a favorite of yours. Consider providing non-candy treats such as stickers, pencils, crayons, toothbrushes, pretzels, or popcorn. Another healthy strategy is to keep the candy out of reach to avoid “easy access” or mindless snacking so that the candy retains special status and is a treat, not a regular part of your diet. Before the kids head out the door, serve a healthy dinner and have a healthy snack waiting for them when they return. Continue to keep moderation in mind; some suggest allowing one or two pieces of candy per day, but, it’s not necessary to let that routine go on until it runs out!
Did You Know?
- Americans purchase approximately 600 million pounds of Halloween candy each year.
- Pumpkin seeds are a delicious and nutritious snack: Simply clean the seeds and discard the “pumpkin guts,” boil in salted water for 10 minutes, drain off excess water using a colander and spread the seeds out on a baking sheet. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and add spices, then bake in the oven on 325° for 8-10 minutes.
Stay Safe This Halloween
To help make Halloween a fun and safe experience for all, work together to review safety practices for trick or treating.
- Travel in groups. A parent or a responsible adult should always accompany young children.
- Consider make-up as an alternative to masks, which can impair vision while trick-or treating.
- Use sidewalks instead of walking in the streets.
- Never approach a house that does not have the light on.
- Wear bright colors or reflective clothing.
- Go through all collected candy to make sure none have been tampered with.
Sources: Safe Kids Worldwide (www.safekids.org), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, LifeWork Strategies, and Adventist HealthCare. Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.