Posted on 10/28/2014 at 12:00 AM by Embria Health Sciences
By: Dr. Lisa Metzgar, PhD
Halloween is the official start of holiday indulgences. Whether it’s the fun and tempting pre-Halloween parties or the bags full of candy our children drag home after a successful night of Trick-or-Treating, we all know that too much sugar and processed food will wreck havoc on our health. Sugar may depress the immune system, feeds unhealthy bacteria in your gut, and sends our insulin levels out of control. Sugar can also be very addictive, acting on the pleasure centers of the brain to make us want more and more.
So, how do you protect your family from overindulging with sweets?
As the parent, you have control of how much of the Halloween bounty your children get. I ration the candy from day one by taking account of the calorie, fats and size of each piece of candy. The nutrition facts panel can be your best friend at keeping your family healthy. If you can’t find it on the wrapper, search for it online.
Personally, my biggest challenge is not how many sweets my child gets, but how much I “sample.” They seem so small and innocent, but start counting how many “just a small bite” samples you eat and it starts to add up. So, as hard as it can be… be strong and set a good example for your children! One tip…buy “bite” size versus “fun size” candy bars…they are around ½ the size (and correspondingly ½ the sugar and calories). The rules that you make for your children about sweets should apply to you as well. Don’t let your kids give you the “but” – you know the “but I saw you eat all the Kit Kats yesterday.”
There will be a day or two that you have too many sweets, so make sure to safeguard your health by taking supplements containing the dried fermentate ingredient, EpiCor. Some of the many ways that EpiCor can help support your immune system include supporting the healthy bacteria located in the gut* as well as adding antioxidant protection to your cells.
Last but not least, it is possible to make fun, healthy Halloween treats for your kids and all those Halloween parties. Trust me, your friends and family will be happy for the healthy alternatives. Just use your imagination ,and of course the Internet has a bunch of ideas. Here are a few ideas that I have found:
Popcorn hands – I have found sources of spooky looking plastic bags that look like hands. Put one candy corn in each finger and fill the bag with popcorn. Pop your own corn so you know that you are using healthy ingredients. Microwave popcorn is loaded with bad fats. You can use coconut or grapeseed oil (has a high cooking temperature so it won’t burn and has a mild flavor) or you can just put popcorn in a paper lunch bag…fold up the top…and pop in the microwave with no oil.
Apple Slices with slivered Almond Fangs – Just cut up apples into slices and stick almond slivers into the apple to make fangs. They are very cute!
Skeleton Bones Vegetable Platter – You can use different vegetables like carrots, celery, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes to make a cute skeleton. Get creative! I saw this idea as a cat skeleton. Serve with hummus and it is a big hit!
Cucumber Eye Balls – Cut thick slices of cucumber, a small amount of cream cheese on top and push an olive into the cream cheese. Caramel Apples – This is a classic and even though you are using caramel it is still a healthier option for holiday sweets with the apple on the inside. Apples are full of beneficial fiber so will slow down the glycemic index of the caramel a little bit.
Pumpkin Smoothie – I have to have something pumpkin during this time of year. Instead going for the sugar loaded pumpkin lattes I make myself a yummy pumpkin smoothie.
- 8 oz unsweetened almond milk
- 1 scoop of your favorite vanilla protein powder (I go for the vegetable based protein powders like brown rice or hemp)
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- ¼ - ½ cup canned organic pumpkin (to your taste) ¼ tsp pumpkin spice Blend with ice and enjoy!
If you want that pumpkin latte taste you can use a little coffee and leave out the spinach. So have a fun and healthy Halloween!
*In a published scientific paper using sophisticated digestive system models.