I love Halloween. In fact, it’s my favorite holiday. I remember well the excitement leading up to the day, planning my Spiderman or Dracula costume – my two favorite characters when I was a child. I also couldn’t wait for my trick-or-treat bag filled with candy, and being able to gorge on it – I couldn’t resist Almond Joys, peanut butter cups, Butterfingers, and Tootsie Rolls.
Today, the thought of eating even one of those makes me cringe, not only because of the physiological effect that it would have on my body, but also the idea of supporting companies who market unhealthy products to impressionable children. Two billion dollars per year are spent furthering the idea that celebration and reward always equals sugar.
I know, I know: but it’s Halloween, right? I’m being ridiculous! Everything is fine in moderation!
What is moderation? Is moderation binge-eating the equivalent of three cups of sugar all in the name of good fun on a holiday? Is this intake-overload okay as long as it’s constrained to a few days a year? So many people would be much healthier and happier if they were able to separate themselves from this pattern of reward through overconsumption (for children, this is evident in sugar consumption; in adults, usually in drinking alcohol).
Determining how much candy is acceptable for your children (or yourself) to indulge in on Halloween is a personal decision. However, keep in mind these questions:
Am I teaching my child healthy habits?
Am I being a role model for moderation?
Am I allowing my child to overindulge because of peer pressure, or because of my own childhood experiences?
Am I making decisions with my child’s overall health in mind?
Just one sugar binge-eating episode can permanently alter a child’s taste receptors and lead to future cravings. Sugar activates the same part of the brain as cocaine. Sugar addiction is a very real thing and can be as dangerous as drug addiction.
PS If you live in the Los Angeles area and are interested in support for staying healthy and controlling your sugar cravings during the holiday season (often the most difficult time to adhere to your usual diet), I will be co-hosting a series of workshops in December. Sign up for my newsletter for more information, and for opportunities for free or discounted course tuition.