I look forward to receiving the Wednesday ads from the various supermarkets in my area. However, this week, the front page ad caught my attention “scary prices.” The foods offered for these scary prices brought the thought immediately “scary prices for scary sugar-rich foods!”
You see, the foods on sale were the ultra-processed foods that make up the components of the S.A.D. (standard American diet). Due to their low prices, these foods fill the shelves of the majority of American homes.
Couple this type of ad with the upcoming Halloween holiday often gives a green light to purchase “fun-bites” candy bars, themed cupcakes, and increased alcohol intake for adult trick or treaters.
This can be the gateway to going down the sugar rabbit hole for many. Even “clean eaters” can feel the pull as they navigate the supermarket aisles lined with bags of dark chocolate “one-bite” treats.
Committed to keeping scary sugar-rich foods out of your diet (and mouth)?
Many Americans say there cutting down on sugar yet we continue to consume a lot of it, on average 270 calories worth (nearly 17 teaspoons) daily. It’s in the obvious places such as candy, cookies and soda, but it’s also in cereal, yogurt, bread, crackers, dressings, condiments and prepared meals (think frozen or ready-to-heat and eat).
Wondering how much sugar the average American consumes in one month?
Check out this video to see and learn how to calculate the teaspoons of sugar in your food.
How to tame the sugar monster in all of us
Read my 10 tips to help you and your kids from going down the sugar rabbit hole.
1. Know thy enemy and keep him at a distance! If you know that one Kit Kat mini-bar triggers memories of childhood chocolate bliss, are you going to be able to just have one? Even healthy food can become unhealthy when you overdo it (think chocolate avocado chia seed pudding). Overeating chocolate is easy.
We’re hard-wired to love sweets. It starts with the tongue: At the first bite of a dessert, our taste buds send a jolt of the splendid news to the brain, which responds by releasing a pleasure-causing neurotransmitter called dopamine, a cozy chemical reward for scoring what our brain senses as high-caloric food.
To avoid the 9pm cupboard raid for your favorite chocolate confection, the best advice is to not allow it in the house. If you have kids, continue reading.
2. Skip the candy and go for non-food alternatives. Sell your kids on the idea that every house hands out candy, but your house might be the only one to hand out mini-toys, stickers, fake tattoos, vampire teeth, bracelets, and balloons with funny sayings. These are especially appreciated by kids that can’t eat candy due to food allergies like gluten, wheat, casein, tree nuts, soy, etc.
3. Forgo candy corn and go for the really hard stuff. If you just know your kids will stage some kind of coup d’état without sweets, choose hard candies like lollipops. These require a long time to eat (no swallowing in one bite!), typically contain fewer calories, and aren’t packed with trans fats.
4. Practice polite portions. Keep to a three-bite rule. You needn’t abstain from seasonal specialties like, kitty litter cake, but neither should you indulge in a gargantuan piece. Take three polite bites and put your fork down. You can use this strategy with your kids too. They get three bite-size choices and then step away from the candy bag.
5. Trick and Treating? Feed your kids (and self) before you hit the road. Having a balanced dinner with lean protein, veggies, a slow-burning carb, like butternut squash drizzled with coconut oil will help to keep blood sugar stable. This will help with pinching from the candy-loaded Halloween bag before you even turn into the driveway.
What to do once they’ve crept into your house (the candy, not your kids)? Usher them into the freezer! It’s not so easy to bite into a frozen tootsie roll or nougat-filled chocolate. 0ut of sight, out of mind works so well you may not remember you had a Peppermint Patty until Christmas!
6. Inspect the goods. Immediately when they return, inspect your kids’ loot and ask them to toss anything they know they don’t really like. Then let them choose three small things. Compromise with sticking to one treat a day. Once again, hiding the rest so neither they nor you becomes tempted. If you toss it, chances are they’ll forget they even had it.
7. Sell it! Yes, there are dentist that buy back your candy. Check with your dentist or endodontist.
If you live in Arizona, check out the Channel 12 news site. For the third year in a row, 12 News will be collecting candy for the Arizona troops. Click here for more information. Check out your local news station for a similar program.
8. Enter the “switch witch.” Buy the candy back! Oﬀer your kids 25 cents per piece of candy. Show them the money and see what happens!
9. Host a healthier Halloween party. Want to really control what your kids consume? Have a party and serve hot cider with cinnamon-dusted warm almonds. Hot drinks take longer to consume, which slows down your kids’ junk consumption.
10. Try the new chocolates made with stevia. I’m fond of Lily’s Dark Chocolate bars which have 25% less sugar (sweetened with the botanical sweetener Stevia), using non-GMO ingredients, including cocoa that is both Fair-traded and gluten-free. Lily’s (a real person) also makes chocolate chips for baking. Click here to learn where to find these seriously rich tasting, no-sugar-added chocolates.
Wrapping up …
Don’t let the Halloween-candy extravaganza melt over into the next big holiday or continue on until Christmas! Try one of the above strategies and let me know how it worked. Or have you found another way to avoid falling down the sugar rabbit hole? We’d all love to hear your comments.
Bonnie Roill is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Health and Wellness Coach, and Hormone Support Coach that creates fun, results-driven health & happiness programs for women. Visit www.B3Nutrition.com to receive your free report “5 SMART Strategies for Healthy Weight Loss. “