myFM: Have a healthier Halloween

by Lianne Phillipson October 27, 2021

myFM: Have a healthier Halloween

Halloween is my least favourite holiday.

There are holidays that are a blast when you’re a kid, and then when you grow up, not so much. Other than seeing the joy in my kids, this time of year is my least favourite. I spend a lot of time helping clients improve their health; immunity, gut health, skin rashes and acne, energy, sleep, headaches, getting rid of recurring infections, aches and pains, and more.

Then comes along those damn one bite chocolates in the easy to grab boxes or bags, for what seems like months in the stores. And then closer to the 31st, they all go on SALE! 

If there was ever a time of no boundaries around eating sweets, candy, chocolate and any other junk food that’s handed out, it’s now. 

What’s scary is the amount of sugar that’s consumed over this holiday, as well as the artificial colouring and flavouring that’s piled into all those squishy and hard candies, crunched on the outside of the Smarties and M&M’s and whatever else is in that pillowcase of treats!

How on earth do you navigate this time?

First, start with some immune support; vitamin C, probiotics–to up the good bacteria as opposed to feed the bad with all that sugar, vitamin D and more vitamins and minerals with a multivitamin that you’ll find in my Immune Boost Package

Talk with kids before heading out, whilefeeding them a good solidmeal like the Lagana from my book Sprout Right Family Food, or a fun dinner like Taco Night, about what’s safe, or not, andset a boundary around what’s going to happen on Nov 1st. Will youtake all the candy with colours - that’s what I used to do, and my kids were ok with it and expected it. Then they chose a pile to keep andtraded up the rest for something that they had their eye on - a new book, game, toy or gift card to order something online. 

Expect behaviour changes, mood swings, meltdowns, belly aches and crappy sleep. The body isn’t designed to deal with this much sugar, so it’s going to let you know. 

​​Plan a pre-holiday family meeting – Parents, meet with your kids before Halloween trick-or-treating or parties and work together to come up with a plan for how much candy they can have. Make them a part of the decision making process so they feel they have some say.

What’s better, what’s worse? - Look out for food dyes and colours as some kids react; allergies, behavioural issues or difficulty sleeping.  If chocolate is their favourite, have some healthier choices (organic or dark choc) on hand to trade the ‘junk’ ones for and talk about why you are trading (and don’t forget to mention that in your family meeting). 

Post-holiday colds and flus – Ever notice an increase in colds, flu or tummy aches post sugar rush? Sugar can depress the immune system for hours, and as there’s already a bunch of colds going around – bear that in mind before she tucks into her bag of loot. Boost the immune system with some probiotics for a week or so before, give some extra vitamin C (powders work well – mix in water or dilute juice) to try to dodge the sickness that’s likely to follow October 31st. I always see a spike in issues with breast fed babies or toddlers, parents and kids—from colds and flus, to digestive upsets, headaches and eczema flare-ups. Sugar can be to blame in most cases here (sorry!).

Offer a balanced dinner before – Help keep those blood sugar levels from peaking and crashing with a pre-trick-or-treating meal, which is a balance of carbs, veggies and protein. Take a water bottle with you en route with diluted juice, or thermos with a favourite herbal tea as it’s usually chilly.  

Start a new trend– Start a new trend of giving out small toys to your trick or treaters.  Talk about giving out healthier choices and alternatives. My faves include:

  • Glow in the dark necklaces and bracelets – a visit to the dollar store got a whole lot healthier!
  • Stickers or temporary tattoos.
  • Candies and other treats made with alternative sweeteners.  Whole Foods Market has a fantastic assortment of lollipops and individually wrapped treats that won’t have your dentist running for cover. 
  • Candies or treats made with natural food colourings including beet, carrot and others. 
Trade up the Loot – is there something that your little princess or Spiderman has been coveting?  Suggest a trade of their bag of loot (after some nibbling of course) for a longer lasting treat, or have the “Halloween Pumpkin” (cousin of the tooth fairy) come a day after Halloween and leave that special something in its place.

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