Just Like “Jumbo Shrimp”… “Healthy Candy” is an Oxymoron
In America the annual per capita consumption of candy is about 24 pounds. Children eat between 1 and 4 pounds of candy just at Halloween.
I have avoided writing about Halloween candy, because I feel that it is no longer safe for kids to trick-or-treat. Also, I’m not fond of a day celebrating the dead and all things evil on All Hallow’s Eve an occult holy day.
That said, kids still consume tons of Halloween candy at school, collecting candy from neighbors and family or they attend a fall festival, or church harvest party and end up with just as much candy.
Have you ever wondered why you never have to convince a picky eater to eat candy?
Haley munches on her candy stash.
Photo with permission from ZIMage Photography
The Sugar Monster
Sugar is a monster. Somehow that’s appropriate for this holiday. Unless the sugar is listed as “organic” or it says “pure sugar cane,” it’s most likely from GMO beets. Just about every disease is linked to or made worse with sugar consumption.
Sugar consumption is directly related to the explosion in obesity and diabetes. In the refining process, all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes, and other beneficial nutrients have been stripped away. What’s worse much of the sugar in candy is now High Fructose Corn Syrup.
The amount of Halloween candy each child eats depends on his/her age and the amount their parents permit. This can be the ultimate battle, because after all, kids feel the candy belongs to them.
You can control your children’s candy consumption by having them dump all of their goodies onto the kitchen table when they return home. First of all it’s a good idea to inspect what in their bags. Next, let them sort the candy into three different piles: their favorites, the candy that they like somewhat, but not their favorites, and ones they don’t really care for.
The goal of the three piles is to allow kids the opportunity to designate their favorites. Parents can then combine the favorite candy into smaller packages so it’s not all eaten at one time and then throw out everything else. The small bags can be put into school lunches and eaten as after-school snacks. By dividing the candy this way, consumption is more manageable and the least favorite candy is disposed of right away.
Is there such a thing as “healthy candy”? No, I don’t believe so, but there are some candies without all the chemicals. It would be more accurate to say “natural candy.”
Sugar is always an issue, but for special times, it’s nice to have choices. My third daughter couldn’t tolerate the artificial dyes and flavors in candies. I found out later that they are derived from petroleum, no wonder. When she was a child we had only two choices, both contain hydrogenated oils: Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups and Bit-O-Honey. Of course our Holiday Homemade Fudge is made without artificial stuff.
Today, you can find lots of “natural candy” without hydrogenated oils, artificial colors and flavors in a whole foods store or online. I found two online that look very promising: Natural Candy Store and Sugar Coated Organics.
The candy they sell has “Absolutely NO artificial colors or dyes, NO artificial flavors, NO artificial sweeteners, NO high fructose corn syrup, NO preservatives, NO hydrogenated oils.”
There is candy for special diets: Vegan, gluten-free, Feingold approved, and kosher. I even found kosher candy canes! (That seems like another oxymoron, oh well.) You can purchase lollypops, jellybeans and organic candy bars.
So what’s in this natural candy? You’ll find ingredients like Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Rice Syrup, Citric Acid, Natural Green Apple Flavor, Dark Chocolate, and Natural Alfalfa Extract Color, Natural Lemon Flavor.
Natural candy is more expensive than ordinary chemical-filled candy, but I believe it’s worth it. Also, if you spend a little more, you just might eat a little less.