What’s the most frightening thing about Halloween? Is it ghosts? Is it ghouls? Goblins? Nope. The scariest part of Halloween is how much sugar our kids consume.
Here are some hair-raising statistics:
Americans purchase around 600 million pounds of candy each year for Halloween.
The spending for all these sweets is about 2 billion dollars.
The average kid eats up to 7,000 calories on Halloween and would have to walk over 100 miles to burn off that amount of calories – that’s a lot of trick or treating!
While these statistics are frightening, what about the rest of the year?
According to a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sugar makes up 16% of the daily calorie intake of the average American child. According to the American Dental Association that amount should be less that 10%, ideally less than 5%. More sugar consumption results in more cavities.
The American Heart Association places the recommended sugar consumption at around 8%. Obesity is running at epidemic rates in the United States and Diabetes is on the rise.
What can we do about these shocking statistics?
Read Food Labels
We don’t always realize the amount of sugar that’s hidden in the foods we buy. What may seem like a healthy choice can sometimes have an enormous amount of hidden sugars – packaged meals, peanut butter, snack bars, fruit yogurt, apple sauce, cereal, and granola are just some examples of foods with high hidden sugar content.
Reading food labels before you make the decision to feed that item to your kids can go a long way in limiting their food consumption.
Eat and Serve more Fruits and Veggies
We feel sorry for produce. Most foods have labels listing their contents, including calories and nutritional properties. Not so for fruits and vegetables. But we do know that these little gifts directly from nature can provide vitamins, minerals, fiber along with natural sugars.
Skip the Fast Food
When you eat out you have far less control over what goes into the food you’re eating and allowing your kids to eat. You would be gruesomely surprised to discover how much sugar and salt is hidden in those fast food meals.
What’s in a Beverage?
Did you know that one can of soda contains three times the daily recommended sugar intake for a child? Unfortunately, many commercially packaged fruit juices are not much better. The best rule is to stick to milk or water to quench their thirst.
It’s no big surprise that excess sugar can be harmful to the health of adults and children alike. Doctors recommend limiting the amount of sugar we allow our kids to eat on Halloween and throughout the year.
So, at Halloween and throughout the year, keep an eye on how much sugar your kids are eating, whether hidden in packaged foods, part of a soda or juice drink, or in dessert.