October 31st has more names than your average day of the year. Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, and the lesser known yet very real, “Holiday of Sugar.”
In fact, studies show that kids can consume up to 3 cups of sugar from Halloween candy alone!
Now, we’re not saying you should boycott the holiday altogether. But, considering how much candy our kiddos will eat, (that is until we swipe some for ourselves) there are ways we can lower our family’s sugar intake while still enjoying the holiday.
5 Ways to Avoid Sneaky Sugar
Sugar has a way of sneaking into our food right under our noses. Its many names make it easy to hide in plain sight (looking at you high-fructose corn syrup!) But with a few tricks up your sleeve, you can avoid the excess sugar that lurks in your kiddo’s food and decrease their overall sugar consumption this time of year.
1) Avoid Liquid Sugar
Liquids are a favorite for hidden sugar, even those so-called “healthy drinks.” The main culprits are:
- Sports drinks (Ex: Gatorade, Powerade)
And although these guys are the biggest bullies, you can also find excess sugar in tea and flavored water. In fact, the leading cause of tooth decay in kiddos comes from sugar sweetened beverages.
One more thing! As we head into the holiday season, keep in mind that hot cocoa, apple cider, and eggnog can also come packed with sugar.
2) Replace Sugary Treats with Fruit
Rewarding a job-well-done with a special treat is a great way to celebrate. But often, those special treats are no good for our health, our tummies, or our teeth. So next time your little one gets straight A’s or cleans up their room, consider these fruit alternatives:
- Blueberry Yogurt Pops
- Banana Split Smoothie
- Fun Fruit Medley – just toss together a medley of delicious fruits!
3) Try Sugar Substitutes
Sugar isn’t the only way to sweeten up foods, treats, and drinks. There are plenty of healthy sugar substitutes that’ll do the trick.
- DATES: Dates are a sticky, sweet fruit high in nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. They’re a form of natural sugar that can be blended and tossed into smoothies, yogurt, or any dessert recipe.
- HONEY: Although still high in sugar, honey is a natural sugar that sure beats high-fructose corn syrup! It’s high in antioxidants and better on your blood sugar than plain ol’ sugar. Plus, it helps suppress cough – super handy this time of year! Just make sure you check with your pediatrician as honey shouldn’t be given to babies.
- MONK FRUIT: This magical superfood has a unique benefit: it’s 200x sweetener than sugar! Now you may wonder why we’d be happy about that. . . Well, since it’s so sweet, you only need a pinch for a sweet effect. This means it has virtually no carbs, calories, or blood sugar spike. You can swap in monk fruit in all your favorite recipes for a sugar-free treat.
4) Check Nutrition Labels
Sugar goes by many names, which means you have to be extra careful when reading your nutrition labels.
Here’s a handy list of common names for sugar:
- High-Fructose Corn Syrup
- Cane Juice Crystal
- Malt Syrup
- Beet sugar
- Agave Nectar
5) Say Goodbye to Gummy Vitamins
Gummy vitamins may seem healthy, especially with labels such as “organic and non-GMO.” But they’re just tiny sugar bombs.
In fact, gummy vitamins contain the same amount of sugar per gram as an Oreo.
Yikes! We’re better off tossing those gummies and avoiding the sugar hit.
Instead, choose a healthy vitamin for kids that parents, pediatricians, and dentists love! And this guy is the one and only: Renzo’s Vitamin. It’s the kid’s vitamin that checks all the boxes:
- Yummy taste (even picky eaters love Renzo’s!)
- No sugar, GMO’s or junk
- Packed with 3x nutrition with high-quality ingredients.
We know your little ones are teeming with excitement for Halloween! And by avoiding the excess sugar throughout the rest of the month, your little one's health, tummies, and teeth will be too.
We hope you have a Happy Halloween! Chi DL, Scott JM. Added Sugar and Dental Caries in Children: A Scientific Update and Future Steps. Dent Clin North Am. 2019 Jan;63(1):17-33. doi: 10.1016/j.cden.2018.08.003. Epub 2018 Oct 29. PMID: 30447790; PMCID: PMC6242348.