What does Halloween have to do with your gut? Well… nothing directly, but it is a holiday centered around sugar, and sugar definitely has something to do with our gut (and it’s not good).
Sugar’s Effects on the Gut
When it comes to our gut, maintaining the fragile balance between good and bad gut bacteria is key to our health – and sugar upsets that balance by feeding the bad bacteria, allowing it to over-populate and overwhelm the good bacteria. The result is poor gut health, and that can manifest as more than just an upset stomach. Poor gut health has been linked to our overall physical and mental health and wellbeing, and is a risk factor for a number of serious diseases.
And many of us are eating more sugars than we realize, because American processed foods and fast foods are absolutely packed with sugar; the U.S. Department of Health recommends that no more than 10% of our daily calories should come from sugar, and estimates that the average American gets about 17 teaspoons’ worth of sugars above and beyond that recommendation in their daily diet.
Add in the massive amount of sugar we eat during Halloween (and let’s face it, we’re often eating candy before October 31st, and for at least several days after because of all the leftover candy), and it’s obvious that this holiday has the potential to wreak havoc on our gut. This is why it’s important to find ways to enjoy Halloween without all the sugar.
Healthier Halloween Treats
There are all sorts of options when it comes to healthier treats, of course, but Halloween is special, because you’re not just choosing a treat for yourself, you’re choosing treats to share with others, including kids. And while a handful of nuts makes a great treat, few kids are going to thank you for it when they were expecting something sweet. So what to do? What treats are out there that are at least a little kinder to your gut?
Treats to Make Yourself
If you’re going to a community event where people trust you, then making a treat to bring is a great idea. Here are links to some healthier Halloween treat recipes that yes, kids and adults alike will love!
Treats to Buy
If you’re going to give out treats, then homemade isn’t an option; some parents won’t trust a treat that’s been made by someone. But what to buy?
For healthier sweets, try some of the candies from YumEarth – there are lots of Halloween favorites to choose from! For salty snacks, Utz has cute little “bats & jacks” pretzel shapes in perfect treat-sized packaging.
Small toys can also be a hit. Matchbox (or another manufacturer) miniature cars / vehicles, small bouncy balls, fake vampire fangs, mustaches, funny fake glasses, finger traps, sticker packs, mini bubble bottles, etc. all make great treats (and no sugar added) and they aren’t expensive.Halloween can be a difficult holiday to navigate if you’re trying to avoid sugar. But a little ingenuity and creativity, and you can ensure the holiday is still fun for your and your family while being easier on your gut. Happy Halloween!!