Healthy, Happy, HALLOWEEN!
Halloween is my favorite holiday. It's actually my favorite day of the year, period. I LOVE it. I've loved it since I was a kid...even though I'm literally scared of EVERYTHING, I can't watch scary movies, I'm super paranoid about creeky sounds and cobwebb-y houses, and am sick every year, WITHOUT FAIL, on October 31st (yes, even this year...this time I have anesthesia and a really tired, already challenged cystic fibrosis immune system to thank though!).
But as wimpy as I am when it comes to scary things, what's scariest to me (yes even scarier than the Freddy costumes and the fact that people are murdered on Halloween more often than any other day of the year-true fact) is the sheer amount of sugar, chemicals, and preservatives consumed on Halloween...and maybe even for the days, weeks, and (shutter) MONTHS after the holiday is over...and CHILDREN make up the majority of this consumer group, which is most terrifying of all. More specifically, the average American consumes a ghastly 3.4 POUNDS OF CANDY on Halloween day ALONE (not including the days, weeks, and months to follow that are most likely spent "finishing off" the purchased or accumulates treats), while the average American child will consume over 3 cups of sugar, or approximately 384 grams. I told you it was terrifying.
At this day and age, we all are pretty well educated on the dangers of refined sugar, but as a refresher (and to press my point, ahem...), here's the quick and dirty facts:
Excess sugar consumption
-Causes blood glucose levels to sky rocket, and then plummet very quickly, wreaking havoc on the pancreas and endocrine system
-Increases the risk of diabetes
-Can lead to weight gain and obesity
-May increase the risk of heart disease
-Has been linked to acne
-May increase one's risk of developing cancer
-Linked to depression and increased risk of suicide (due to massive blood sugar fluctuations)
-Can quicken how fast your skin ages (along with the rest of your body...)
-Linked to the development of fatty liver disease
...and so, so many more.
This, to me, IS scary. And while we may not be able to change the world's consumption of sugar on Halloween and in general, we can certainly do something about the consumption in our own household, and maybe even among those we know. How? With the following adorable, delicious, and nutritious Halloween snacks!
Healthy Halloween Snacks!
1. Banana Ghosts and Clementine Pumpkins
(Banana halves with cacao nib/chocolate chip "eyes", and clementines with chopped celery sticks as "stems")
2. Mummy toast
(Toast with tomato sauce, cheese/dairy free cheese slices melted, and olive "eyes")
3. Veggie Skeleton
(Veggies and dip arranged in "skeleton" design)
4. Apple Witch Mouths
(Apple slices filled with peanut butter, with sliced almonds as "teeth")
5. Sandwich Spiders
(Nut butter sandwiches cut into circles with pretzel stick "legs," and raisin "eyes")
6. Witch Fingers
(Celery boats filled with nut butter or hummus, and almond "nails"-can add jelly under the almond for extra sweetness)
These are just a few fun Halloween snack ideas to entertain and satisfy kids (and adults!). As far as alternatives to handing out candy, there are tons of options for that, too, including
-Mini raisin boxes
-Bagges apple slices (pre-packaged)
-Mini pretzel bags
-Stevia or xylitol-sweetens lollipops
-"Smart sweets" gummy candies (linked below)
Wishing everyone a fun and SAFE Halloween! If you make any of the above snacks, be sure to share on social media using the hashtag #annasorganicswellness (and tag me for a repost at @annasorganicswellness!).
Until next time,
Stay healthy, happy, and hopeful!
Dr. Anna Johnson, ND/CNS