Trick-or-treating season is almost here! My kids couldn’t be more excited, but I’m dreading it. With Halloween being a sugarfest, it can be tricky to navigate for the health-minded parent. I created this Parent’s Guide to A Healthy Halloween to help you avoid the stress while keeping your kids’ options as healthy as possible.
This guide has a list of my favorite healthier candies and sweets (plus non-candy items) to help you find great options for your kiddos. I’ve also included my favorite tip for switching out all the sugar-packed candy your kids bring home with these healthy parent-approved alternatives!
Since having kids, my feelings about Halloween have become complicated. It’s beyond cute to see my kids dressed up. When they were little, getting dressed up was enough for them (they didn’t even know candy was part of the holiday). But they’re older now and want to trick-or-treat, bringing home bags upon bags of candy.
My least favorite thing about traditional trick-or-treating is how binge-y and extreme it can be. After all, it’s centered around kids scarfing down unnatural amounts of sugar in a short amount of time. My aim every year is to bring more moderation to this holiday tradition. I don’t want my kids to feel like they’re missing out on the fun, but I also know the harmful impact that tons of processed sugar, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives has on them.
Here’s the thing: we know that processed sugar is bad for our health, right? But we may not realize how much it truly impacts our bodies.
Sugar contributes to:
- Weight gain
- High cholesterol
- And long-term health problems like type 2 diabetes, cancer, liver disease, heart disease, dementia, mood disorders, and metabolic issues.
Sugar is the new tobacco! It’s highly addictive. In fact, sugar actually activates the same neurotransmitters as cocaine and heroin.
The stimulation of these neural pathways is reinforced every time we eat sweets, which hard-wires the brain over time to crave sugar on a regular basis.
So we essentially become total sugar junkies.
And sugar isn’t the only problem with “mainstream” candy. Tons of popular sweets, like Skittles, contain a red dye now banned in California. This dye (red dye number 3) is linked to several serious health problems – including cancer. I’ve personally seen how chemical dyes impact my kids’ behavior. And as Oprah says, “When we know better we can do better.”
With all that said, I approach Halloween with the mindset of moderation. I want my kids to enjoy Halloween without feeling like they’re missing out or feeling restricted.
My strategy is to let my kids pick a certain number of pieces of candy from their stash to keep (minus the candy that has dyes or allergens they can’t tolerate). Also, while we’re trick-or-treating, I have a bag of alternative treats that they can actively swap out, like trading M&M’s for a low-sugar organic vegan chocolate. One year I brought dried mangos and all the kids in our group wanted them more than candy!
When we get home, we put the candy we’re not going to eat aside for the “Switch Witch,” who comes in the middle of the night to switch it out for a non-candy gift.
Although this guide is intended to help parents navigate Halloween with their kiddos, we all know who ends up eating the leftover candy in the house! This list of healthy Halloween treats is a great opportunity for all of us to uplevel this holiday.
Jo’s Favorite Healthy Halloween Treats
Smart Sweets Candy
These bite-sized gummy candies are sweetened naturally with stevia, not artificial sweeteners or refined sugar. They’re a great alternative to the more popular conventional gummy candies.
My kiddos LOVE these lollipops! They’re sweetened with xylitol, all colors are derived from natural plant based sources, and they’re free of most major allergens – a win-win!
That’s It Fruit Bars
These fruit bars are pretty self-explanatory: they contain just fruit — that’s it! No added sugars or colors.
Veggie Go’s Organic Fruit and Veggie Strips
These are an upgrade to the classic fruit strips — they include veggies, too! These yummy fruit and veggie strips are sure to please even your pickiest eaters.
Evolved Chocolate Keto Cups
These delicious cups are sweetened with monk fruit, dairy-free, gluten-free, and contain organic ingredients and prebiotic fiber.
Choc Zero Mini Pumpkins
These pumpkin chocolates are a festive and sugar-free treat for Halloween. They’re also dairy-free, vegan, and gluten-free.
These dye-free organic candy bites are a better option for Skittles. They’re super allergen-friendly and are free from high-fructose corn syrup.
Stickers make a fun non-candy Halloween treat. My kids love them… and they end up on every surface in our house :).
What are your struggles and strategies around Halloween? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
Wishing you a Happy & Healthy Halloween,
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