It's that time of year again--time to dress up the little ones and hit the candy circuit, right?! Well, not so fast. Most candies that hit your child's Halloween bag will be loaded with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Also referred to (somewhat misleadingly) as corn sugar and corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup has been linked to diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and tooth decay. It can be contaminated with mercury and it’s almost always genetically modified. With a little forethought, however, you can protect your child from this dangerous sweetener without missing out on Halloween fun.
1. Make your own Halloween treats.
The easiest way to avoid high fructose corn syrup is to make your own Halloween candies. Choose natural sweeteners like organic cane sugar, organic cane syrup, agave syrup, honey, and brown rice syrup and use Halloween molds to achieve a festive shape.
2. Choose organic, fair trade chocolate.
Chocolate is a great option because there are so many organic and fair trade chocolate options. These sweet treats are often much less processed than conventional candies. Be sure to choose dark chocolate that’s high in antioxidant cocoa and low in sugar.
3. Buy organic.
Organic candies are free of high fructose corn syrup and usually sweetened with organic cane sugar. Some of my organic candies for Halloween include Endangered Species chocolate bars, Glee Gum, Alter Eco Candies, and Yum Earth Organic Lollipops.
4. Give treasures instead of candy.
Cut down on high fructose corn syrup consumption by giving treasures instead of Halloween candy. Some good ideas include polished stones, crystals, stickers, temporary tattoos, and crayons. Be creative--kids love trinkets and they won’t rot their teeth.
5. Host a Halloween party.
Instead of trick-or-treating, host a Halloween party at your house. Kids (and adults!) can dress up, make fun homemade candies, play games, and you don’t have to worry about high fructose corn syrup. Make a spread at home with fruit alternatives like frozen grapes, fresh fruit dipped in dark chocolate, and organic apples dipped in homemade caramel. Yum!
6. Give pumpkin points.
Instead of candy, consider “pumpkin points”. Kids can trade pumpkin points for treats like a trip to the movies, fun trinkets, a trip to the park, or a trip to the kid’s museum. Make Halloween about more than just the candy, make it an experience.
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