Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween and Candy

Halloween has always been a super special time to indulge in treats that were limited or absent the rest of the year. All year long I blog about how nutrition impacts development. But, once a year everyone who wants to can indulge in some candy.

There are ways to make this candy centered holiday healthier for everyone. When my kids have candy, I make sure it is in the presence of some real food: a piece of fruit, some nuts, a few carrots, a hard boiled deviled egg, some cold cuts or a meal I have made myself from scratch are all great to have on Halloween. A rule of thumb is if it has a label on it, it's not healthy. If it has a label on it with more than five ingredients it DEFINITELY is not healthy. In fact, it isn't even food. It is chemicals marketed to look like food.

On Halloween, I focus on the presence of real food, rather than denying my kids candy. It is the presence of real food that will make a difference in how they react to the sugary snacks. Like alcohol, your body will be less afffected by the sugar on a full stomach. Having some candy in the context of a day filled with homemade healthy nutritious food is very different from having candy with processed, convenient food.

Everyone knows that sugar is bad for you--in order for your body to process sugar you have to use a hefty amount of magnesium and B vitamins. Because magnesium keeps you calm and B vitamins are necessary for the production of serotonin, you can see why kids can become unglued with too much sugar. One thing you can do is eat food that have the nutrients that the sugar depletes. Pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews and black and white beans are all foods high in magnesium. Some good food sources for vitamin B6 are bananas, potatoes, chicken, turkey , salmon and beef. Also, some kids are more sensitive than others--and sensitive kids really need nutritious meals when they are indulging in sugary snacks.

Happy Halloween from!


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Lauren said...

Great advice. Your healthy cookies were delicious and a great way to add some nutritional calories to the candy!


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