Susan B. Sloane, BS, RPh, CDE, has been a registered pharmacist for more than 20 years and a Certified Diabetes Educator for more than 15 years. Her two sons were diagnosed with diabetes, and since then, she has been dedicated to promoting wellness and optimal outcomes as a patient advocate, information expert, educator, and corporate partner.
I know from raising two sons with diabetes that holidays and parties can be challenging. Then I had a revelation: candy is not good for any child.
Candy has long been used as a reward or treat for some children, but increasingly, families view sugar as off-limits because of health or weight concerns. So although those of us with diabetes tend to have some holiday anxiety, healthy eating is becoming a way of life for all of us.
Perhaps we were the original trend-setters. Are we perfect? Not at all. But diabetes can be integrated into daily life.
So, how can we make Halloween more fun with less emphasis on eating candy? At my house, we incorporated games that made it more fun to play with the candy than to eat it.
Four tricks that worked in my household
- My kids traded in their candy for more allowance money. To make it more interesting, different candy was worth different amounts. Chocolate was five cents, green candy was 10 cents, etc.
- Candy was reserved for low blood sugar, with the understanding that chocolate works slowly and making sure that glucose tablets were used when needed. This was meant as an adjunct to an approved snack and worked for us. It is by no means an endorsement of candy for low blood sugars as a rule.
- We used the candy as a game to guess how much sugar was in different types of candy, and the one who guessed closest got a prize.
- We made it a challenge to go to as many houses as we could, making sure to check our blood sugar along the way.
When you need to, you can of course incorporate sugar-free options into the mix, such as Jell-O, sugar-free gummies, etc. Check labels and ingredients to make sure these products are right for you and your family.
With Halloween, it's not so much about the candy—it’s about the memories and traditions that make holidays special.
Think back for a moment. What dominates your holiday memories? What you ate or who you were with? I think you know the answer.
How do you make your holidays diabetic friendly? Share your experiences below.