Spooky, frightful, chilling party events, ghost stories and dress-up costumes are all part of Halloween fun but the party food and drink, trick or treating and left over candy can be the death of all us all!
Halloween is an Irish custom celebrated since the 1900’s. It is considered the Celtic New Year marking the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. Customary orange representing a bountiful harvest and the turning color of leaves, while black symbolizes the “death” of summer and the changing season.
While the cultural experience of Halloween like carving Jack-o-Lanterns, bobbing for apples and medieval folklore are rooted in this holiday, if you are not too frightened to learn more about the scare of the holiday then dare to check this out, “13 Halloween Superstitions & Traditions Explained”, http://www.livescience.com/16677-halloween-superstitions-traditions.html.
It seems that these traditions have been tossed into the witches cauldron only giving way to a candy fest. More candy than you may want to believe. Second only to Halloween costumes, it seems candy was the second-largest revenue generator increasing by almost 3% in 2013 to total $2.25 billion, http://www.ibisworld.com/media/2013/10/14/halloween-sales-grow-slow-3-0-percent-2013/.
Halloween traditions are dying and it all boils down to dollars and cents, lots of candy and in the end an evening that haunts us forever with health and weight problems.
Don’t get me wrong a little bit of candy won’t kill you. But, if your Halloween events are anything like what I have experienced it includes tables full of cupcakes topped with creepy spiders, candy apples dripping in caramel and sprinkles, oh and yes the actual trick or treating that adds up to hundreds of thousands of sweet treats that look harmless but actually wreak havoc on blood sugar and insulin levels causing cravings, leading to eating more, gaining weight and life-long health problems.
Whether eating a Reese’s peanut butter cup or fat-free licorice (see chart below) there is not much of a difference. A nutrient-LESS treat that contains 100% sugar and carbs without any fat or a high in fat and high sugar junk food will both damages blood sugar and insulin balance. The ingredients they both contain (i.e. corn syrup) still directly causes weight gain, spikes and dips in blood sugar, insulin surges and all the consequences that surround hormonal imbalance including mood swings, hunger, heart disease, diabetes, insulin resistance and much more. So do NOT be fooled into thinking that fat-free is health consequence free.
|Reese’s peanut butter cup||licorice|
Use these tricks of the nutrition trade for your healthy Halloween:
- Be generous. Share your candy and even a toothbrush with the men and women who serve and protect our country. Operation gratitude helps spread the Halloween spirit by sending candy, tooth brushes and toothpaste to troops overseas. https://www.operationgratitude.com/wp-content/gallery/photos/album36/halloweencandygiveback_2011.jpg.
- Eat a large amount of healthy food and be full before the big party or before going trick or treating.
- If you are hosting, serve real food. Leave no room for lots of junk food.
- Plan to use non-food items and fill time with fun-filled activities as part of the Halloween festivities.
- Hand out tattoos, spooky plastic rings, false teeth, stickers, bouncy balls and use them in a “funniest” costume contest.
- Use small plastic spiders, mini-ghosts, or skeletons in a scavenger hunt. Don’t forget the Halloween-themed pencils and erasers for the check off list.
- Cut the sugar carbs and fat from junk and commercially prepared foods from your daily eating and drinking regimen for 1-2 weeks in preparation for October 31st.
- Revisit Halloween with a little tradition on fright night try: ghost stories or movies, bobbing for apples, carving pumpkins, pin the spider on the web.
- Instead of eating chocolate, use it for a facial!
Celebrate a healthy Halloween, take gluttonous candy eating out and put the tradition of spook back into fright night.