If you’re a fan of spy movies, you’re probably familiar with the FBI, KGB and CIA. But have you ever heard of the HCIA? This completely made-up organization — the Halloween Candy Inspection Agency — is especially active on Oct. 31.
Members include thousands of dads across Canada who insist upon “inspecting” their kids’ candy haul. The only thing these heroes ask for in return is a small-to-gigantic share of the loot. Kids may call this theft, but the candy isn’t going to inspect itself, now is it?
That said, it’s time for the HCIA to cut back on its candy quota. Thankfully, it’s easy to dial down your candy consumption, and cut back on sugar overall, by making a few small changes.
Treat a treat as a treat
Is Halloween candy healthy? We all know it isn’t, but that doesn’t mean you have to cut it out completely. Just remember to indulge in moderation — say, one miniature bar a day versus one miniature bar every hour, on the hour throughout the day. On that note, one bonus with Halloween candy is that it tends to come in teeny tiny packages, so one bar a day is no big deal. In fact, research suggests that treating yourself once in a while helps you stick to a healthy eating plan. That’s right: When consumed in moderation, candy can help you LOSE weight. It’s a Halloween miracle!
Swap your sweets
If cravings for something sweet strike more than once a day, try healthy candy alternatives like dark chocolate (with 70 percent or more cacao), fruit, or berries (this recipe for berries and Greek yogurt is a keeper). Another option: mix dark chocolate chips, dried fruit and lightly salted nuts together to make trail mix. Sweet and salty for the win!
Skip the vending machine
Halloween candy inevitably runs out, at which point you may be tempted by the full-sized bars in vending machines. Don’t do it! As well as being packed with sugar and fat, those bars cost way more than healthier sweet snacks you can buy at any supermarket or corner store. Think apples instead of chips, or mandarin oranges instead of peanut butter cups. Plus, your snack is much less likely to get stuck on the way out of a grocery store…
Besides, have you ever checked out the ingredients in some vending machine items? Eating too much sugar can lead to a host of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood cholesterol, cancer, cavities…the list goes on. Forget Halloween — now THAT’S scary stuff!
For more information on making Halloween safe and fun for anyone with diabetes, check out these tricks for enjoying your treats or share your own tips in the comments below.
Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader’s Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN, MSN Canada, and DontChangeMuch.ca. Visit Adam’s website for more details on his award winning work.