I know I just went on about how a little Halloween candy really isn't that bad but if you have serious health issues it's a whole other story. And in light of the serious abundance of sugar today, I thought I would also share some tips from the Canadian Diabetes Association on how to manage Halloween if you're the parent of a child with diabetes. This could also apply for parents who are trying to manage other health issues with their children.
Here's what the Canadian Diabetes Association had to say: "A common misconception is that people with diabetes cannot eat anything with sugar. People with diabetes can still enjoy sweets and sugary foods as long as they work them into their meal plan carefully taking into consideration portion sizes and carbohydrate intake. By planning ahead, traditions such as Halloween including the consumption of sweet treats can be enjoyed by children who have diabetes."Halloween tips from the Canadian Diabetes Association:
- Emphasize the non-food-related aspects of Halloween, such as costume preparation and decoration. It's not just about candy!
- Consider giving out school supplies with a Halloween-related theme so candy is no longer the focus. Hand out Halloween pencils or crafts.
- After trick-or-treating, sort through your child’s sack of loot, allowing them to set aside the candies they love best. Ration these out to ensure they enjoy them at the right times such as after supper for dessert or after lunch at school.
- Remember that there aren’t good or bad choices when it comes to candy. A gram of carbohydrate, whether it comes from a chocolate bar or a lollipop, affects blood glucose levels in the same way. However, a Halloween-size candy, which contains between eight to 15 grams of carbohydrates, could be a better choice than a big bag of chips, which has added fat, sodium and calories.
- Leftover treats can be traded with siblings or parents in exchange for non-food-related treats, such as a new toy.
- Consider saving items of pure candy such as lollipops for treating hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels).
- Moderation is important for everyone including children who don’t have diabetes. Let your child with diabetes know that it isn’t just because of their diabetes that they shouldn’t overindulge. Encourage your other children in the family to follow the same suggestions as your child with diabetes.
- Ensure your child has a good meal before trick-or-treating to prevent a low while running from door-to-door and to avert dipping into the treat bag before they get home because they’re hungry.
Check in with your doctor or local diabetes organization as well for extra tips! Also, November is Diabetes Awareness Month so take the opportunity to do some reading on it or attend an upcoming event held by the association.