Halloween can be a harrowing time for both kids and their parents, because on this holiday and the days or even weeks that follow, kids will often face major blood sugar highs and lows after pigging out on dozens of sugar-laden candies.
In other words, they'll be hurled into sugar shock.
Let's face it, no matter what kind of limits their parents may try to place on their children's candy consumption, youngsters will often overdose on sweets, even if they have to do it in secret.
Unfortunately, that's what Halloween means these days. It's a nationally sanctioned "Sugar Overload Day."
So how can you help your young trick-or-treaters not get wiped out, cranky, depressed, headachy or charged up from having too many candies?
The way to soften the blood-sugar-bouncing whammy and lessen sugar shock is to make sure that your children eat a healthy, well-balanced meal before they cavort around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candies.
For instance, before they head for the streets, give your children:
Ample protein (such as a piece of fish or free-range chicken)
Fiber-filled, quality carbs (like a salad, steamed vegetables, a sweet potato and a small portion of brown rice)
Smart fats (such as olive oil drizzled on top of your salad and sweet potato)
Plenty of water (bring bottles with you, too, to keep your kids hydrated)
By powering up with with PFF (Protein, Fiber & Fat), your child may:
Have more consistent energy
Feel filled up from the meal so that he or she eats less candies
Be a lot more fun to be around, because his or her blood sugar is balanced
I cannot stress enough how important this is to make sure that your kids eat right before they go out trick-or-treating.
If your children don't eat a good meal before eating lots of candies, they may go into sugar shock, which means they might:
Get wired or really tired
Pick fights with their siblings
Find it tough to stay focused
Develop a horrific stomach ache
Learn about the sugar-overload situation you're facing on Halloween. Just read my short, first entry over at my new blog at the Huffington Post. Please post a comment and become a fan, too.
Specifically, researchers from the Center for Childhood Obesity Research at Pennsylvania State University and other institutions found that girls, who, at age five, consumed two or more eight-ounce servings of sweetened beverages such as soft drinks were more likely to have a higher intake and be overweight in the next decade than girls, who drank less during the 10-year period.
Consumption remained stable for those who drank one to two servings a day, the researchers found.
Drinking milk or fruit juice wasn't connected with weight gain, as Food Navigatorpointed out.
The researchers pointed out that although the American Academy of Pediatrics has made fruit juice consumption recommendations, the organization hasn't made any regarding sweetened beverage intake.
It's fascinating to me that researchers seem to shy away from the words "soft drinks" and instead use the phrase "sweetened beverages." Of course, you can find numerous other sweetened drinks, too, such as energy drinks, lemonade, fruit punch, etc.
But, let's face it, it doesn't matter what you call them. The message here is that children should stay away from sugary drinks, especially two or more eight-ounce portions.
Of course, we already knew that, but it's always helpful when researchers arrive at conclusions that back up theories.
Adults, are you feeling trapped into giving out empty-calorie candies this Halloween?
During these times of skyrocketing obesity among kids, you don't have to be a "sugar pusher" like many of your neighbors on this nationally sanctioned Sugar Overload Day, which is what I call Halloween.
If you pass out candies to these adorable, costume-clad kids, you're "tricking" them, not "treating" them.
Think about it: If you hand out candies, you're encouraging sugar gorging, which may will lead your kids and your neighbor's children to get moody, tired or wired, cranky, angry or sick to their stomachs!
According to Marlene B. Schwartz, PhD., Deputy Director of Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, toys are just as popular as candy on Halloween.
"We found that kids were just as likely to pick toys as candies," Dr. Schwartz told me over the phone today, when I asked her about a research study she spearheaded in 2003 to learn how kids would react if given the choice between candies and non-sugary toys.
Sure enough, the Yale University study revealed that half of the 284 trick-or-treaters aged 3 to 14 didn’t want lollipops, fruit-flavored chews, or hard candies. Instead, they wanted such toys as glow-in-the-dark insects, stretch pumpkin men, or Halloween-themed stickers and pencils.
"The idea of the study," Dr. Schwartz recalls, was "to tell parents that they have a choice." "A lot of parents feel trapped into giving candies at time when we know children's diets are too high in sugar."
This Halloween, for the sixth year in a row, Dr. Schwartz will again hand out toys to trick-or-treaters in suburban Connecticut. "We've never had a complaint," she adds.
According to Dr. Schwartz, who purchases toys at Oriental Trading, the most popular treats to give are:
Little plastic or rubber pumpkins, ghosts or characters
As I've discovered on trips to various grocery, drug and 99 cent stores, you also can give:
Colored pencils and pens
Non-Halloween-themed party favors such as hair clips, hair bands, scrunchies, plastic bracelets and rings (for girls).
Party favors such as engine whistles, key chains, pens, and stickers. (For boys or girls).
Fun, "spooky" fingers
Engine whistles and kazoos
Over the weekend, while taking a break from BlogWorld to visit some drug stores and 99 cent stores in Las Vegas to get ready for a TV interview, (which you'll hear about shortly), I did my own informal survey with kids.
I asked the youngsters which they'd prefer to get on Halloween: Candies or toys.
Two of the more interesting responses I received were from a mom and her young boy, who was about 6.
The mom said she'd prefer to give out candies.
But when I asked her young son, the boy said, "Toys. They're cool!"
'Nuff said, don't you think?
Get Your FREE Cravings-Crushing, Quick-Start Guide!
You have Successfully Subscribed!
Your email address is safe with us. We promise to never share or sell it.