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Tips and Tricks to a Healthy Halloween

Trick or Treat!

Halloween is almost here and it’s time to gear up for ghosts, goblins and unicorns! The second best thing to wearing a costume and trick or treating is eating all the yummy goodies your kids collect. Trick or treating isn’t nearly as much fun if you don’t get to indulge on the free candy.

The trouble with Halloween candy is that they are so small! At first, you may only allow your child (or yourself) to eat one or two, but it can be so hard to resist a third… at least for yourself. I am a big believer that small changes make BIG differences and those small Halloween treats can definitely cause some MAJOR damage to your health. Studies have found sugar to be highly addictive, working similarly to cocaine. It lowers immune functioning for five hours after its ingestion, causes whole body inflammation and leads to weight gain, insulin resistance and type II diabetes – even in kids.

sand flavours. These ingredients affect digestive functioning, brain chemistry, neurotransmitter balance and hormones. Have you ever noticed your child get hyper, lethargic or moody after eating lots of candy? These are just a few common symptoms associated with eating processed foods.

So how CAN you and your family have a healthier Halloween?

1. Give out treats you would eat yourself. If you are actively working toward optimizing your health you may be following a more whole foods approach and avoiding foods that come from a box. If you won’t eat it, why should your child? Nearly 1/3 of Canadian children are overweight or obese – that’s 1.6 million kids! Feel free to skip the high-calorie low-nutrient treats. They won’t eat it, you won’t eat it, every body wins. Consider potato chips or pretzels as an alternative but always read the ingredient list. If you can’t say it, spell it, read it, write it or explain what an ingredient does in the body, your body doesn’t recognize it either.

2. Do a treat exchange. If baking is your thing, this is your time to shine! Bake your favorite healthy dessert (i.e. banana bread) and negotiate a price for a slice. I know one woman who bakes healthy desserts like chocolate zucchini cake and then trades one slice of cake for two or three treats. I know another woman who trades treats for money.

3. Hand out non-edible treats. Finding healthy treat ideas can be easy if you’re making them at home for your family, but hard if you’re handing them out to trick-or-treaters. Parents typically want Halloween treats to be prepackaged to ensure they haven’t been tampered with - Totally fair. Have you ever thought about handing out bubbles or something you can easily buy from the dollar store? If you have a dentist in the family, it’s a good time to promote their business with free toothbrushes or floss!

This year, consider making Halloween a bit healthier while still keeping it fun. Try one or more of these easy tricks and I can assure you, you’ll be in for a treat!

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