Every year Halloween signals the beginning of higher calories goodies and food that roll out with end of the year holidays. Candy and other sugary treats like candied apples have been staples in the Halloween tradition.

Children with type 1 diabetes as well as children with type 2 diabetes must make wise choices at Trick or Treat time. The high sugar, carbohydrate, content in candies combined with varying amounts of fat will raise the blood sugar.

A few options for families of children with diabetes include:

Cutting back on the candy

Trick or Treat alternatives at Halloween have become more popular over the years. Fun games and other events replace some of the candy focus. Head off to the nearest Fall Festival or other child-friendly Halloween party instead of the usual neighborhood Trick or Treat candy run.

Children with diabetes may need to substitute the candy they receive for a healthier snack or a lower carb snack, depending on their exchange value.

Better choices with the candy

Not all candy is created equal. Some candies pack much higher sugar and calories per fun size serving than others. A quick Internet search has a number of articles and references on nutrition breakdown on different Halloween candies.

Strategies such as choosing the “healthier” candy and limiting the amount of candy collected make progress towards a healthier Halloween. Also, stretching out the eating of Halloween candy over a week or more may help with candy becoming an after meal dessert or even being forgotten.

Kids with diabetes may want to save their treats for meal time when they would normally get a dose of insulin. This prevents the need for adding extra insulin doses or shots.

Hit the road

Walking door to door in the neighborhood is not always possible, but when possible, it offers some calorie burn to soften the sugar rush of the Halloween haul. Practically, walking means fewer doorbells will be rung and probably less candy collected.

It’s important to not have too much candy during this time of year, but enjoy Halloween. And of course, feel free to share any extra Kit-Kat bars with your favorite pediatrician, especially if he’s an endocrinologist who happens to be writing this particular blog.

Enjoy the treats.

 Joel

As a self-described ‘techie,’ Joel Steelman, M.D., has a keen interest in the wise use of technology to improve medical care. Since 2001, he has helped implement electronic medical recordkeeping in two endocrine practices. He still loves to write, and he is a regular contributor to the Physician Perspective  page on the Cook Children’s Web site.

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