Posted by: suzan | October 14, 2011

The High Fructose Monster this Halloween!

Growing up, I wasn’t really into the candy thing. I know, you must be thinking – this girl is crazy, no candy?! But really, I think it’s because my parents didn’t want me to get hooked on all that sugary stuff and I am very thankful for that now that I’m older and have a child of my own. Of  course when Halloween time rolled around, my siblings and I did indulge in some candy and my parents didn’t say no to it, which I think also helped as well. They let me have whatever candy I wanted on special occasions, like Halloween, and I had my “fix” of candy to satisfy me enough not to want it all the time.

Then again, I didn’t always have that much self control. I remember at school, sweets were always passed around and they were in vending machines and even teachers gave them as rewards. And especially when it’s Halloween time, eating and binging on candy should be truly avoided or monitored at best. Why? Because all that sugary stuff, especially candy and sweets made from high fructose corn syrup will do more harm than good in the long run. HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) is very addicting and the more you have it, the more you want it. And to a little kid, it’s all they’ll think about!

So how would you avoid high fructose corn syrup this Halloween (or better yet – any time throughout the year)? It’s really difficult when you see it in practically every candy bar, lollipop, hard candy, gummy candy, etc. , out on the market and advertised on TV and magazines. Self control is not an easy task for most children or even adults, so I do have some tips on keeping that highly-addictive ingredient out of your children’s Halloween treat bag or at least limit it.

– Find alternatives to HFCS such as honey, evaporated cane syrup, sugar (brown and white), stevia, and brown rice syrup. If you’ve never tried brown rice syrup, it is slightly sweet and sticky and found in cereals, sweets, and bakery.

– Make your own candy by using honey and set them into molds to make fun shapes for Halloween.

– Chocolates are great alternatives! They’re low in sugar content and if you eat at least 70% cacao, you’ll get the added antioxidant health benefits. Pluse kids  really enjoy chocolates.

– Buy organic sweets when possible. Organic sweets are usually free of high fructose corn syrup. It’s an added benefit of buying organic because most organic companies are very diligent about their products and its healthy benefits.

– Use fruit or fruit juice as a reward. Instead of having your child reach for a piece of candy, give them some super sweet and healthy fruit such as blueberries, strawberries, and oranges dipped in chocolate. Organic apples and  all-natural caramel works great too. You can also make your own caramel very easily! Check out Wholesome Sweeteners website for a simple and delicious caramel recipe: http://www.wholesomesweeteners.com/recipeitem/SEARCH_BY_WORD/caramel/269.html. Homemade whipped cream with fruit and dried fruit are a great combination as well. Be sure to make your own whipped cream by using heavy whipping cream or read the labels of store bought ones very carefully. Most of them are made with High Fructose Corn Syrup or Corn Syrup (which tricks you into thinking that they are better).

No matter what sweets your children may enjoy this Halloween, it’s always a good idea to limit them and if you’re really diligent, read the labels of the sweets. Most stores are carrying alternatives to sweets such as stickers, erasers, pencils, coloring books, figurines, etc. and if you find something that your child will like, they most likely won’t remember the bagfuls of candy hidden in your cupboards or waiting wickedly in their Halloween baskets.

For more info about healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle, please visit: www.healthychild.org. for more tips and info.

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