It's no surprise that kids love Halloween. After all, it's a fun holiday that fosters creativity and imagination. Besides, what other night of the year can a youngster ring a stranger's doorbell demanding candy with the simple but effective words, "Trick or treat"?
But what about children with diabetes? Do they have to miss out on this fun-filled candy-fest? Diabetes experts agree that although Halloween can be tricky for diabetic kids, with careful planning they can enjoy the treats in "trick-or-treating" too.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) emphasizes that parents of diabetic children can let their youngsters participate in Halloween and other holiday celebrations, as long as they plan in advance. Something that parents can do to plan ahead is count carbohydrate grams.
This allows a diabetic child to enjoy a sweet treat without sending blood sugar levels skyrocketing. Often, people mistakenly think that diabetics must avoid all types of sugar, but this is not totally true. Once in awhile, a diabetic may indulge in a small piece of candy as part of his daily carbohydrate allowances -- as long as the sugary treat is later replaced with another non-sugar type of carbohydrate, like potatoes.
While it is true that your child shouldn't gobble the entire contents of her trick-or-treat bag with gleeful abandon, there are some creative and tasty alternatives to the typical sugary Halloween sweets they can enjoy. Healthy alternative treats are:
And when handing out goodies, there are plenty of fun alternatives to sugary treats. Kids love small containers of Play-Doh, trinkets such as pencils, spider rings, bouncy balls, temporary tattoos and glow-in-the-dark stretchy skeletons.
Bag 'O Treats
But what do you do with that bulging bag of sweets that your child drags home from another successful trick-or-treating raid? Have your child choose a few of his favorite treats from the bag, and incorporate them into his overall diet plan. Another option is for parents to "buy" back some candy so their kids can get a non-food treat, like a game, a small toy or even money. We don’t want children to feel deprived or that they have to sneak candy.
Sweets in Moderation
The ADA agrees that sweets in moderation are okay. To get their list of the carbohydrate content of popular Halloween treats please visit:
Do you have a favorite Halloween treat? Please share it!
In the US, cider is simply apple juice that hasn’t been filtered to remove the pulp. Because it hasn’t been processed as much, cider offers more health-protective antioxidants than clear apple juice. But, even sipping cider won’t give you as many health benefits as munching on a whole apple.
A medium-sized, unpeeled apple offers you about four grams of dietary fiber and just 80 calories. That’s 15 percent of the daily fiber recommendation for adults. Studies show that fiber may help lower blood cholesterol levels and keep your digestion moving smoothly.
So, an apple a day still keeps the doctor at bay. But if it’s an apple beverage you’re craving, cider is a great choice. Keep in mind that cider straight from the mill has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria. Although most of our immune systems can handle this, those who may be vulnerable include pregnant women, infants and children, the elderly and people with cancer, diabetes or AIDS. If you’re in this group, the FDA recommends that you boil unpasteurized cider before drinking it.
Few things are better than a warm drink on a frosty day. Beat the fall chill with a steaming cup of this Spiced Apple Pomegranate Cider.
1 gallon apple cider
6 whole cloves
3 (2-inch-long) strips lemon rind
2 cinnamon sticks
2 cups pomegranate juice
Each serving provides:
Fat: 0 g
Carbohydrate: 30 g
Protein: 1 g
Sugars: 29 g
If you’ve visited a Whole Foods grocery store lately, you may have noticed that fresh figs are plentiful these days in the produce section. And if you’re wrinkling your nose in distaste thinking of all those Fig Newtons you munched on as a kid, consider giving the fruit another chance.
Figs have been around for a long time. Favored by Cleopatra, and eaten by ancient Greek athletes for strength and vigor, figs were introduced in California by Spanish missionaries who planted fig trees. Today, there are over 150 varieties to choose from. Some of the most popular are:
And you can eat the skin. But fresh figs won’t last long at room temperature, so eat them within a day or two. Keep them in a mildly cool refrigerator and they’ll last a few more days.
Dried or fresh, figs are a sweet way to include more fiber in your diet. Try slicing them into halves and tossing them on your morning oatmeal or into a salad.
We wanted to share our absolute favorite figgy recipe (for now) with you. It's quick and easy and so mouth-watering good that you probably won’t want to share it.
Heavenly Honey-Balsamic Glazed Figs over Cottage Cheese
¼ cup pistachios, shelled
6 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
6 Tbsp. honey
12 oz. low-fat cottage cheese
12 large (18 small) fresh figs, halved
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 350⁰ F. Chop pistachios in a food processor and place on a baking sheet. Toast for 8 minutes. Remove and let cool. Set aside.
2. Combine vinegar with 4 Tbsp. honey in a saucepan. Boil, stirring often. Cook for 2-3 minutes until sauce reaches a thick, syrupy consistency.
3. Puree cottage cheese and remaining 2 Tbsp. honey until smooth. Spread on a serving platter.
4. Preheat broiler. Place figs cut side up on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil, and balsamic honey glaze. Broil figs for 2-3 minutes until edges begin to brown.
5. Arrange fig halves over cheese, drizzle with balsamic glaze and sprinkle with toasted pistachios.
Each serving provides:
Protein: 9 g
Total Fat: 5 g
Carbs: 48 g
Cholesterol: 3 mg
Sodium: 159 mg
Fiber: 4 g
Sugars: 42 g
Adapted from Vegetarian Times.
What’s your favorite fig treat? Please share it with us!