Today, candy is the central focus of the spookiest holiday of the year. In fact, the average American consumes 24 pounds of candy in a year, most of which is eaten right after Halloween according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But for diabetic children, it can be difficult to enjoy the festivities when all their fellow goblins are in a frenzy to get their hands on mounds of sweet treats.
Marc Wolf, registered pharmacist and CEO of Diabetic Care Services, provides the following tips to help parents of diabetic children shift the focus off Halloween candy so the kids can have more fun.
•Explain to diabetic children ahead of time that they should not snack on candy until you are home from trick-or-treating. (Parents, that goes for you too!)
•Lots of walking can affect blood glucose levels for anyone with diabetes, so pack a healthy snack that you can rely on to battle lows. This way, you avoid the temptation of dipping into the Halloween treat bag for a quick solution if your child’s blood sugar levels begin to drop.
•If your child has diabetes, choosing which type of candy to pass out is important because there is a good chance you will have leftovers. If you select the correct type of candy, you can use leftovers to treat lows throughout the year. According to the American Diabetes Association, chocolate and other higher-fat treats do not work well for treating lows. Therefore, if you anticipate leftovers, choose hard candy, gumdrops or lollipops to pass out at Halloween so you can use the leftovers to treat lows.
•Do not feel you have to deprive your child of all Halloween candy because they have diabetes. Instead, allow them to choose a fun size, smaller version of their favorite candy. Just remember to adjust their meal plan based on the number of carbohydrates in the sweet treat. Visit the JDRF web site for a list of common Halloween candy carbohydrate values.
•After trick-or-treat hours are over, sit down with your child and help them choose a few of his or her favorite pieces of candy they can enjoy throughout the week. To help diabetic children part with the leftover candy, allow them to exchange it for money, a toy or some other special treat (a special dinner, trip to the movies, etc).
•If you do not want to waste the extra candy by throwing it away, go with your child to donate the leftovers to a hospital or senior center. Not only will your child learn healthy diabetes management habits, they will receive a lesson in sharing.
•Take the focus off Halloween candy by encouraging diabetic children to create an exciting Halloween costume. You can even involve the entire family by designating a day to work on homemade costumes.
•Halloween costumes often require plenty of face paint, body paint and colored hair spray. When the festivities are over, ensure you give proper attention to skin and scalp cleansing and care. Diabetic children can use products like Diabet-X Hair and Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Dermal Therapy Body Lotion by Bayer, can help to safely scrub dye out of hair and moisturize skin after removing dehydrating costume makeup.
•No matter what the Halloween costume, ensure your child wears comfortable, closed toe shoes and invest in special diabetic socks that will keep feet clean and dry. Whether trick-or-treating or at a costume party, it is important for children with diabetes to protect feet from potential cuts and scrapes and prevent blisters and soreness.
•Offer to host the Halloween party this year. You will be able to ensure your child, and all the guests, enjoy healthy Halloween treats safe diabetic children rather than experience sugar shock.
•Use food coloring to turn your favorite dip or sugar-free whipped topping orange, and pair with fruit and cheese or vegetables for a festive tray.
•For dessert, dish out sugar-free chocolate pudding in individual cups and garnish with sugar-free whipped topping and sugar-free candy worms for a creepy surprise.