Halloween may be known for the stacks of chocolate and sugar-laden treats that leave the family feeling sluggish and bloated – but it doesn’t have to be this way. If you’ve recently quit sugar or are trying to stick to your health goals, there are a number of simple steps you can take to not only nix the sugar, but have a good time while you’re at it! We’ll show you how. Plus, we've collated tried-and-true tips from mums on how to keep the kids from overdosing on the sweet stuff.
Tobey Wilder, clinical nutritionist and mum, says that it's all about striking a balance between health and fun.
"We want to limit our children's consumption of sugar while not leaving them feeling left out," she says.
"It often comes down to balance with children. If they go out trick or treating I would let them have a couple of their rewards and then ask them to remove the ones they don't like, while placing the ones they do like in the kitchen cupboard to be distributed over time; often after a month you can simply discard the rest because the novelty has worn off."
Let's dive into a few of the ways you can strike this balance on Halloween, from trick-or-treating outings to a spooky party at home. We'll be hearing top tips from a number of mums, along with sharing more of Tobey's expert advice for navigating the sugary tricks and traps of Halloween.
Melbourne mum, Karen Reid, knows well the temptations that come with the festive season, as she has taken her 2 kids and a group of their friends out door-knocking on more than a few occasions. She’s sharing a few of her tried-and-true tips to keep your little ones healthy this weekend.
“Make sure you know who you’re visiting, I always set up a few houses of trusted friends to visit,” she said. “That way I know exactly what kind of sweets they’ll have and it’s also just safer than knocking on unknown doors.”
Karen’s right – it can be a good idea to do a little pre-planning with fellow parents for your trick-or-treating festivities. We have a few other simple tricks to keeping the sugar to a minimum when going door-knocking:
- Don’t go out on an empty stomach – you’ll want to make sure neither you nor the kids are nursing cravings while you’re out.
- Use a smaller basket or container so there’s less space to fill with junk food.
- Smell the roses – focus more on the walking and socialising aspects of trick-or-treating.
Clinical nutritionist Tobey Wilder shares how you can prevent the kids from splurging on sugary treats when they're out.
"When it comes to Halloween, I make sure my child has had a full and nutritious meal before they leave the house; whether it's a party or trick or treating, this way they are less likely to overindulge on their own," Tobey says.
Expecting trick-or-treaters? There’s a whole other set of precautions to take if you’ll be dishing out the treats. Having lollies or chocolates in the house can provide undue temptation for yourself – even if you plan on handing them out!
Mum of 3, Alice Lee, says it’s all about making homemade treats.
“I usually make a batch of muffins or brownies, but with very little sugar, so it’s not so bad if me or the kids have a couple while we’re waiting for trick-or-treaters,” she said.
Alice admitted that sometimes the trick-or-treaters never show up – well, it is Australia after all – and both she and her family end up treating themselves to their baked goods. Sounds like a pretty good night to us!
We all know the lure of sugar, and it’s easy to fall back into old habits. So why not reinvent the way you hand out the goods? We’re not saying you have to give out oranges or toothbrushes! We’ve got a few fun, tasty ideas that will satisfy your door-knockers, without blowing out blood sugar levels. Try subbing in some of the following instead of the traditional Halloween fare:
- Popcorn – the kind without added sugars!
- Spiced nuts – turmeric, cinnamon and nutmeg are all vibrant flavours to give your nuts a festive kick.
- Frozen watermelon
- Make our Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Cups
- Make our Supercharged Fudge
- Make our 2-ingredient Banana Bread Cookies
- Make our Turmeric Protein Bombs – these are loaded with flavour and have that Halloween-inspired Autumnal hue down!
- Hand out toys instead – go for balls, slinkies or yoyos.
Have a look at our article featuring 6 fun recipes to try out this Halloween HERE.
For the party-goers or hosts
Staying indoors for the festivities? You might think you’re safer than the trick-or-treaters, but there are a few sugary obstacles to clear when you’re celebrating at home.
Mum Tori Rhoads-Holloway recommends subbing in healthier snacks for the kids, like "popcorn, real fruit snacks, apple slices", along with suggesting a number of fun games to put on for the little ones.
"Playdoh, fidget toys, corn hole, ring toss are all some ideas," Tori says.
If you're whipping up meals for your party guests, we've got a few tips for getting it right.
Aussie mum, Annie Lewis, says that her trick to pulling off a festive Halloween party – without the sugar overdose – is to use fragrant ingredients in your dishes.
“I lean into the spices to compensate for sweetness or saltiness, and the taste stands on its own,” she said. “My girls don’t even notice anything missing, paprika and cardamom are my best recommendations.”
And she’s right – intense flavours can give an otherwise boring dish added flair and excitement, not to mention the colours of spices like paprika and turmeric are fitting for those Halloween hues. Whether you’re making dinner, drinks or dessert, you can make use of a range of powerful ingredients to wow your guests. From herbs to spices, there are a range of options for bringing out flavour in your healthy dishes.
Add a little turmeric or pumpkin for a vibrant, orange drink fit for any Halloween affair, or for something a little spookier, try adding in some activated charcoal to the mix. It’s good for you, and it looks creepy too! Whip up a banana smoothie or break out and try this I Quit Sugar Gingerbread Smoothie as a base, and add your colours of choice.
Take a look at the short-list of healthy ways to add a bit of spooky colour to your smoothie:
- Turmeric – for that Halloween-orange hue.
- Activated charcoal – for a deathly black-as-my-soul vibe, if that’s what you’re going for!
- Beetroot or raspberries – for a blood-soaked smoothie that will creep out even the strongest of stomachs.
- Matcha powder – for a sickly green colour sure to thrill the zombie or Frankenstein enthusiasts, and it doesn’t hurt that matcha is loaded with antioxidants for a healthy gut, smooth skin and a lower risk for cancer! Not sounding so scary now, is it?
You might want to try making up a charcuterie board for some tasty snacks to serve the kids and adults alike – here’s your guide to pulling off a killer platter.
Clinical nutritionist Tobey Wilder shares a few tips on having a successful Halloween party – minus the sugar crash, of course!
"If I was hosting a party I ensure to provide lots of fruits and veggies dressed up in all manner of spooky attire to encourage the children to eat them alongside some other healthier, sugar free treats for them, and of course the option for a proper nutritious meal," Tobey says.
The Sydney-based clinical nutritionist says it's important to encourage good decision-making skills in children, instead of flat-out banning foods. She shares how, when provided with healthy alternatives, the little ones will often make balanced choices, along with having a greater opportunity to learn and grow.
"Parents often encounter problems with children when they simply restrict food groups with or without an explanation," Tobey says. "As parents we want to ensure we provide a safe and nurturing environment for our children that promotes opportunities to try things while providing education to them and, of course, healthy alternatives."
From trick-or-treating to a killer party at home, it IS possible to enjoy a low-sugar, high-fun Halloween with the whole family.
Keen for more health and nutrition tips? We’re here to help. Join us for the 8-Week Program where we’ll be quitting sugar and turning our health dreams into a reality. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
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