Halloween is not only the time of year for the scariest costumes and decorations, it is also a time of year where our kids load up on the scariest ingredients manufactured in food science laboratories. These ingredients can easily be avoided with a little know-how and a whole lot of creativity.
Spooky Ingredients To Skip
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
HFCS has been linked with obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It is a source of extra calories and may cause liver and kidney damage. As the name implies, it is manufactured from corn, which is often genetically modified and not certified organic.
Fruit or fruit juice offers a natural, sweet taste, along with natural vibrant colouring and flavours. It also provides a side benefit of naturally sourced nutrients such as vitamin C, beta-carotene and antioxidants so you can actually feel good about consuming them.
Artificial sweeteners include aspartame (such as Equal, Nutrasweet), sucralose (Splenda) and saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sugar Twin). Artificial sweeteners were introduced as an alternative to table sugar and as a means to avoid excess calorie intake, reduce obesity and as an alternative for people with diabetes. Although they are “calorie-free”, they do come at a cost. They have been linked with headaches and migraines, allergic reactions such as nausea, diarrhoea, skin problems and varying forms of cancer.
Natural sweeteners are safe alternatives to artificial sweeteners and have not been linked with health risks. This group includes Stevia, Xylitol and Lankanto. They also have the sweetness of sugar without the impact on our blood sugar, leading to diabetes and obesity.
Better yet, opt for naturally derived sweeteners, such as honey, maple syrup and black strap molasses.
Artificial food colouring, dyes and flavouring
Links with cancer, behavioural changes, AHD, headaches and migraines, artificial anything should be avoided.
Replace artificial colouring, dyes and flavouring with real food and real ingredients. If you can pronounce everything in the ingredient list of your Halloween treat, chances are you are eating real food and not manufactured food with artificial ingredients.
Not only do I avoid these scary ingredients at Halloween, I regularly find alternatives to them in our everyday lives. Here are three store-bought treats made with real food, real ingredients that are kid-approved.
Better Choices For Halloween Treats
YumEarth Organics Lollipops which are made with real fruit juice, 100% natural flavours and do not contain HFCS or artificial dyes or flavouring. These lollies even have added vitamin C and other nutrients that you can feel good about giving your kids.
Harvest Snaps Snapea Crisps which are flavourful and crispy AND made with real ingredients. They are even made with snap peas or lentils for the added benefit of these healthy legumes.
Skinny Pop Popcorn are a yummy and the perfect snack or treat. They do not contain any artificial colouring, flavouring or preservatives.
Wishing you and your family a Happy Halloween!