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It’s something that every parent struggles with around this time of year – how do you let your child with diabetes participate in Halloween activities without shooting their blood sugars through the roof? With a little planning, it doesn’t have to be scary!
Keep it at a fun size: Sugar is not completely off limits for children and adults with diabetes. Make sure the carbohydrate counts are factored into your child’s meal plan and covered by their insulin. A fun-size candy bar often runs around 10-15g of carbohydrate. (Check nutrition labels for accurate carb and fat counts.)
Find a different focus: Focus on creatively decorating your house, your yard, your pumpkin, etc. Enjoy local activities, such as haunted hayrides or corn mazes, or plan a party for your child and their friends and serve healthy snacks and beverages.
Non-sweet treats: encourage neighbors and teachers in classrooms to pass out other goodies for Halloween, such as stickers, small toys, sugar free gum, etc.
Buy it back: offer to “buy” your child’s candy back and allow them to use the money for a small toy or a book for their “treat”. Many local dentist offices also buy back kid’s Halloween candy in exchange for a small toy or prize.
Use some for low blood sugars: Find the candy that can be used to treat future lows (like smarties or hard candy) and divide them up into servings of 15g carbohydrate. Keep them in your car, in your child’s backpack, in their school testing kit, etc.
Involve the entire family: Reducing sweet treats for all members of the family is a wise and healthful choice overall. Have each child pick out their favorite 10-20 pieces of candy, and choose 1-3 per day, to eat with a main meal. Take the rest of the candy to Senior Center or send it overseas to military personnel for a rewarding experience for everyone.
Ken Dey served as Public Relations Coordinator at St. Luke's from 2008-2014.
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