As a family dentist in Hollywood, Florida, it is only natural that Halloween stirs up some sugary nightmares for us! I mean, it’s hard not to cringe knowing that 600 million pounds of Halloween candy are sold in the U.S. every year. While most Americans consume at least twice the amount of sugar that is “recommended” daily—our median is about 22 teaspoons for adults and 32 teaspoons for children—the average child will consume three cups of sugar on Halloween. Let me repeat that, three cups or 144 teaspoons of sugar. Scary right!
Sure, as an adult, you might indulge on Halloween a little too. And that’s ok, we can’t resist a Mounds bar either. But, for most children, self-control when it comes to candy doesn’t exist. Given the opportunity, most kids will eat as much Halloween candy as they possibly can, unless, of course, your child is like Dr. Blake, who used to save and savor his Halloween candy, which would last him until the next Halloween.
There is a fine line between a little indulgence and going overboard when it comes to Halloween treats. But I think we can all agree that three cups of sugar should never be consumed in one day! As a parent, what do you do? Where do you draw the line?
Tips for a Healthier and Lower Sugar Halloween
1. Before tricker treating, have a little talk and decide with your kids how much candy they can eat that night and when they will be able to eat their leftover treats. Instead of letting them have a free-for-all candy feast, spread out the indulgence over several days or a week instead.
2. Ask your children to pick out their favorite candies from their collected stash. They should only eat what they really love.
3. Say no to sugary drinks. Make Halloween about the candy or Halloween-themed baked goods and treats.
4. Not all Halloween treats need to be super sugary. There are so many creative recipes out there these days for cute, healthy, and kid-friendly Halloween treats. Here are 25 healthy Halloween recipes for some inspiration.
What Halloween Candies Are Lowest in Sugar?
The maximum amount of sugar a child should have in one day is seven teaspoons. So, on this special sugary holiday, maybe you let them have double that or even triple that, but not 144 teaspoons.
According to Insider, a fun-sized Snickers bar, a small box of Nerds, a mini package of Snickles, a Tootsie Pop, and three mini Butterfingers or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups all have under three teaspoons of sugar. Three junior Tootsie Rolls, four Hersey’s milk chocolate minis, and three Twix minis have three teaspoons. Knowing approximately how much sugar is in different treats can help you decide how many treats your kids can have on Halloween.
And don’t forget…
To make sure everyone brushes and flosses their teeth before bed!