Halloween And Diabetes: What to do With All That Candy
The kids in your life are likely very excited about Halloween. What child doesn’t love the huge influx of candy and sweets! But, as an adult with diabetes, Halloween presents its own challenges.
What do you do with all that extra candy?
If you’re anything like most families, the quantity of candy that comes home is far more than anyone should eat. But the temptation to snack on a piece here and there can be hard to resist.
Don’t let their small size fool you. Those fun-size candy bars can pack a whopping 10 g of carbohydrates each!
You need a plan to keep the treats from derailing your hard-won blood sugar control.
Create A Halloween Treat Containment Plan
Limit How Much Comes Home
The first and most important step you can take is to limit how much candy comes home. Depending on the age of your kids, this may be more or less difficult.
If you have young kids who are relatively new to the world of trick-or-treating then you can set reasonable expectations from the beginning. However, if your kids are used to going all out on Halloween and hauling home a giant pillowcase full of candy, then you will have to get creative.
Here are some strategies to try:
- Make or purchase a reasonably sized candy bag for trick-or-treating. Once the treat bag is full, it’s time to head home.
- Invite friends and family over for a chili or soup night after trick-or-treating. Having a fun activity to return to will make it easier to quit.
- Don’t over-buy candy to hand out. You don’t want to get stuck with what’s leftover! Once you’ve used up your supply, call it a night.
- Talk to your kids in advance about how much candy it’s ok to have in the house. And lead by example. If you’ve already taken steps to minimize sweets, then cutting down on candy at Halloween will make sense.
The Candy’s in Your House, Now What Do You Do?
Halloween used to just be one night of the year, but lately, everyone seems to be trying to extend the fun as long as possible. This could mean treat bags from school, friends, and even businesses.
You are going to end up with candy in your house. And that’s ok! It’s fun for kids and even adults to enjoy their favorite treats and get in the spirit of the event.
What you don’t want is for your blood sugars to be spiking multiple times a day because you swiped a piece of candy each time you passed the bowl.
Try these strategies to get the candy out of the house once the big day is over:
Plan How Much Candy to Keep
Just because your kids brought all that candy home doesn’t mean you have to eat it all. Talk in advance about how many sweets are reasonable and over how many days.
Use the situation to talk with your kids about diabetes and sugar and overall health. Teaching them how to limit their sugar intake is an important life skill that will benefit them as they grow.
Agree on a number of pieces of candy they can keep. Perhaps 10 or 15 feels reasonable to your family. Or maybe that number is 5 or 25. Involve your kids in setting the number and then stick to it.
Once they have selected their pieces of candy, bag up everything else and get it out of sight.
Give Away What’s Left
Finding places that can put your excess candy to good use isn’t all that difficult. While you may not need all those treats, there are people who can benefit from a little pick-me-up.
Here are some great organizations you can donate unopened candy to:
- Treats for Troops
- Halloween Candy Buy Back
- Operation Gratitude
- Ronald McDonald House Charities
- Or Find your local foodbank
Everything In Moderation
Candy isn’t the enemy, but at the same time don’t treat it as a trusted friend. What starts out as a special treat can easily turn into a daily candy binge from Halloween until Christmas.
Keeping your diabetes well controlled is in everyone’s best interest.
Talk with your family and develop a Halloween treat containment plan. If you agree in advance on what to do with all that candy, it will benefit not just your diabetes care, but the health of the whole family
Supporting Team DETS, Rebecca is a yoga teacher, registered dietitian, and writer. She is passionate about integrative wellness and the intersection of food and movement with the health of the world around us. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two boys. For more of her work, visit www.rebeccastilesrd.com