Take the Sugar Fright Out of Halloween Kids’ Treats
Skimming sugar in seasonal sweets keeps healthy eating balanced for young children.
As All Hallows Eve hovers in the distance, parents of young children are likely feeling the haunt of this holiday’s month-long explosion of treats. Have no fear! Those sweets don’t have to sabotage your household’s healthy eating habits. Finding balance between eating a nutrient dense diet while still enjoying a few sweet treats is all it takes to ensure those cute little superheroes and princesses, as well as mom and dad, have a happy Halloween.
Scary Sugar Stats
What would Halloween be without candy? The tradition is all good fun, yet, over-consumption of added sugars is a definite concern. Especially for young children. A recent study found that many toddlers are eating more added sugar per day than is recommended for adults—an average of over 7 teaspoons of added sugar a day! This, despite the recommendation by the American Heart Association that children under age 2 consume no added sugars, and, for children ages 2 to 19, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests a limit of 6 teaspoons or less.
For perspective, every 4 grams of sugar on ingredient labels equals 1 teaspoon of sugar:
- Skittles fun-size = 11 g
- Starburst 2-pack = 6 g
- M&M’s fun-size = 10 g
- Tootsie Pop = 10 g
And why all the worry? Eating unhealthful foods at an early age can influence food preferences and create patterns that impact both short and long-term health. Too much added sugar has been linked to a host of health problems, including increased risks of type 2 diabetes, obesity, cavities, asthma, and high cholesterol, and high blood pressure—all risk factors for heart disease.
Treat Them to Traditions
Halloween is the perfect time to establish the holiday’s traditions you want to continue in your family. Rather than a candy-based Halloween, choose to focus on costumes, seasonal decorating, crafts, and baking. Toddlers have a candy innocence that won’t likely last, so keep it at bay as long as you can by teaching them fun and healthy ways to enjoy the holiday and the autumn season that don’t involve candy. Introduce kids to your favorite childhood traditions or find a recipe for a fun Halloween pumpkin smoothie, like my Pumpkin Peach Spice Super Smoothie, which adds a boost of seasonally spiced plant protein from a pouch of Sprout Organic’s Pumpkin Apple Red Lentil with Cinnamon. These convenient, totable pouches make great snacks your tot will love. Keep their snacking seasonal with Sprout Organic’s Sweet Potato & Cinnamon Curlz, a fun finger food that’s completely plant-powered and wholesome.
The reality for most families is Halloween involves candy. When it comes to any kind of sweet, it’s important to treat it as a treat: something special, eaten occasionally, and in small portions. Involve your tot by having her choose her favorite candies, then tuck them out of sight. Whether you decide on one piece in the preschool lunch box or two pieces after dinner, stick to it. Toddlers can still learn about routines centered upon healthy, nutrient-rich meals based on vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and legumes. They can also learn about healthy snacks like fruit, cut veggies and dip, whole grain pita and nut butter, as well as healthy prepared snack options like Sprout Organic Foods’ seasonal line of Plant Protein Blends Pouches in flavors like Butternut Chickpea Quinoa & Dates or Pumpkin Carrot Crinklez, a crunchy sweet and savory veggie snack. Consistent, healthy eating is the foundation for creating that balance between nutrient-rich meals and seasonal treats.
5 Quick Tricks to Balance Treats
- Focus on Fun! Make Halloween about costumes, games, décor, crafts, and baking. Try my SuperKid Carrot Cake Muffins, which use Sprout Organic purees.
- Sweets are Treats. Halloween candy is a special treat, so dole it out wisely.
- Fill Their Tanks. Feed them nutrient-rich meals and snacks, like Sprout Organic’s Red Fruit Beet & Berry Crispy Chews, as always.
- Watch the Sugar. Practice portion size, minimizing the total added sugars in their day.
- On Board! Ask family and friends to give non-candy treats or at least fewer.
A fun and healthy way to keep it seasonal is to stock a variety of plant-forward Sprout Organic Foods pouches and snacks on hand. Not only are they made from 100% natural, organic whole vegetables, fruits, pulses, and grains, with no additives or preservatives, they also bring new flavors and tastes for young children—beets, quinoa, butternut squash, chickpeas—that make great learning opportunities for the season.
This post is sponsored by Sprout Organic Foods.