Halloween is one of those candy filled holidays both young and old look forward to. Even as adults, we can’t wait to raid our kids candy buckets and horde our favorites for ourselves. These days though, many of us are more conscientious about what we are putting into our bodies and doing our best to teach our children what is the better option as well. Even though it’s one day a year, here are some ingredients we should avoid and the alternatives you won’t mind handing out.
High Fructose Corn Syrup, of course, is first on the list. Unlike natural sugars found in whole foods, the level of sugars found in High Fructose Corn Syrup are so high it is difficult for our bodies to process it as it is not a natural nutrient. It is easily converted to fat which can lead to obesity, diabetes and other diseases.
Artificial Coloring is in just about everything we consume and those pretty colors of your favorite candies are no different! Studies conducted over the last several decades have found links between artificial color use and cancers, A.D.H.D and asthma.
Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil is the final culprit we’ll discuss. Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil is full of fats, the saturated and really bad for you kind. One Tablespoon of Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil contains a whopping 14 grams of fat and 119 calories! Consuming too much saturated fat can lead to heart and artery disease. Additionally, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil is devastating to our environment. Harvesting of the trees for Palm Oil production is partly responsible for our disappearing rain forests and threatens the wildlife that lives there
Now that we’ve covered what to avoid, let’s get to the creamy, chocolate-filled center and talk about what you can enjoy on All Hallow’s Eve!
When handing out candy at your door, avoid the added goop and select more natural treats. Dark chocolate or yogurt covered fruits, treat sized bags of pretzels, Craisins and granola bars are fun alternatives. If you’re a sucker for tradition though and long to hand out wrapped candy, shop for alternative options like Unreal or YumEarth candies.
As a Pinterest addict, I’d be ashamed of myself if I didn’t mention the plethora of homemade candies and treats you can find there. From suckers to soup and hundreds of other goodies in between, creating a healthy, and still fun, Halloween celebration is simple. Treats don’t strictly have to be limited to the sweet variety. Non-candy treats can trick your guests into party mode without including a ton of unwanted and unhealthy additives. Apple Cider and Pumpkin Hummus are a sampling of the recipes available to help create an incredibly fun Halloween night! Go the extra step and work in some environmentally friendly decorations!
Tradition is another wonderful alternative to candy and other sweet treats. Create something your kids, family or neighborhood will look forward to year after year. Plan a family picnic every year at a local pumpkin patch. Many communities offer cornfield or haystack mazes, haunted trails (with kid suitable themes), hay rides and apple picking. If your area doesn’t offer these opportunities for fun, check with local churches, libraries and schools and find what kind of events will be happening. Plays, story-time, or craft hour are all extremely family oriented activities that will create lasting memories for your friends and family long after the last chocolate bar has melted.
No matter how much you limit the type of candy coming into or leaving your home, your children (and you) are bound to receive candy with those less desirable ingredients we discussed earlier. Don’t be an ogre and keep it all away from your child but see this rather as an opportunity to teach the joy of giving. Let your child keep a few select pieces and then create a plan to share the rest of it. Sharing not only restricts the amount your child is eating but teaches them the happiness of sharing and the joy it can bring to others. Re-purpose the candy into delicious baked goods and share with your child’s teachers, the local volunteer fire department or your sweet neighbor. With a little fore-thought and ingenuity, Halloween will become a most cherished and happy family celebration!