What you will Learn in this Blog:
5 Ways to Keep Kids Healthy on Holidays
Some of our Favorite Good Gut Goodies
Good Gut Recipes for Halloween
5 Things we Recommend to Avoid on Halloween
As Integrative Gut Health Dietitians, we love celebrating fun holidays, especially those that involve fun, family, food, dress-up, and community! While these holidays can start to feel completely food-centric, there are so many other exciting aspects to focus on.
Here are 5 Ways to Keep Kids Healthy this Halloween/Holiday Season:
1. Halloween Themed Balanced Meals all Day!
We love having themed meals for our daughter to enjoy, and it’s fun for us to make them too! Making fun themed meals can ensure your littles have nutrients in their #GoodGut to nourish their good gut buggies before loading up on treats. We plan to pack her Boonanas, Frankenstein Guacamole, Spooky Sandwiches and more. It’s a great way to get your kids excited and involved in the food prepping process and for them to see how easy it is to put together a balanced meal! We have a great freebie on our website as well as our Instagram page for quick and easy holiday themed meals you and your family will enjoy. Below is a free download to our recipes! Download the recipes here!
2. Lots of Hydration
When kids get excited, they tend to get forgetful! Proper hydration is important to help support digestion, flush out extra sugar, and keep blood sugar balanced. Make sure you and your kids are drinking plenty of water, water with electrolytes, a calming hot tea, or even a spooky cider!
3. A Great Night’s Rest
Plenty of sleep is a great way to stay energized and ready for all the fun and spooky festivities! It will also make your gut very happy! Studies show a lack of sleep can increase cravings for refined carbohydrates, including sugar. Since littles are usually up past bedtime, it’s important for them to get plenty of sleep the nights leading up to the fun day! This can also be another great way to support their immune system, rather than sending them out to eat treats on an empty tank.
4. Non-Food Related Activities
This is always a great way to get into the Halloween spirit! Physical activity is so important for our gut health! Focus on the other fun aspects like getting dressed up, walking around at night, visiting neighbors, and not having school the next day to try to avoid making the day all about candy. Halloween is a fun day to pretend with your kids and can be a great opportunity for the whole family to get some extra steps in! An average trick-or-treater gets 2,750 extra steps in their day- which is about 1.25 miles!
5. Switch Witch
We love playing Switch Witch as a fun way to get the whole family in the Halloween spirit and incorporate Good Gut habits. The Switch Witch will come and turn your Halloween candy into a fun surprise! This can help grown ups switch out Halloween treats that may be scary with large amounts of ingredients that can negatively affect your littles gut like artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, or even unsafe contaminants. We love trick-or-treating with our daughter then switching her candy out at the end of the night for candy with less sugar, no artificial dyes, or animal products and a fun Halloween toy instead. We bring some of the Switch Witch treats along while Trick-or-Treating in case she wants to have something the night of. It enables her to feel included all while allowing us to maintain our values when it comes to food safety and #GoodGut health.
One of our favorite places to get gut-friendly Halloween goodies is Skout Organic! It’s the perfect occasion to try some fun fall flavors such as pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and peach cobbler! We especially love the salted chocolate protein bar, perfect for any time of day :)
Wanna Hear Something Scary?
Did you know that the average American consumes 3.5 pounds of sugar on Halloween? Those 3.5 pounds of sugar = 3 cups of refined sugar. The average American child will consume 3-5 pieces of Halloween candy daily from November 1st to December 23rd. Those extra pieces also contribute an extra 35-50 grams of sugar (AKA 140-200 teaspoons) to their already high sugar diets. All of this does not support a good gut.
Here are 5 things we are NOT including this Halloween:
There are so many treats on the market today that might not support your #GoodGut in the best way.
Artificial Colors & Dyes
We don’t want to get tricked this Halloween when trying to have a treat! Studies have shown that artificial colors in foods and candies can negatively impact the gut microbiome (Gultekin, 2019), especially blue dye and red #40. We instead opt for treats that have been dyed with fruits, veggies, and other natural ingredients.
Creepy synthetic ingredients like Sucralose, Splenda, and sweet-and-low have recently been associated with alterations in the gut microbiome (Gultekin, 2019). Go for things made with less refined sugars such as maple syrup, brown sugar, coconut sugar, date sugar, or even cane sugar.
When available, we recommend avoiding pesticide residues which can often be found in sugar cane, corn and wheat. Studies show pesticides can induce intestinal hyperpermeability, AKA leaky gut,, after just 1 meal (Giambo, 2021). We want more treats than tricks this year and every, so the Switch Witch brings organic candy to switch for our daughter.
Sure, some sugar won’t offset the gut, but the stats we shared above can spook your little’s good gut bugs and push their gut out of balance, into a scary place that can last far beyond Halloween. The American Heart Association recommends kids 2 years and older consume no more than 6 tsp of sugar per day, Halloween included! They recommend zero grams of added sugar for kids under 2 year old to allow their gut microbiome to develop as robustly as possible in the first 1,000 days of life. We educate our daughter on balancing treats with whole foods to keep her gut bugs happy and balanced, especially for someone who is an active athlete like her.
Not eating fiber rich meals
To avoid having a November 1st spent sick in bed, we ensure we eat a rainbow of fiber each day to combat the reduced sleep and increased treats Halloween usually brings. We know that 70% of the immune system is rooted in the gut (Wiertsema, 2021), so feeding gut bugs plenty of fiber keeps them balanced and strong.
We hope you continue to Heal with Each MealTM
Get all of our HOLIDAY freebies! Click here
Interested in reading more blogs similar to this? Click here
Sign Up for Our Newsletter Click Here
Become a Patient Click Here
Meet the Team: See which Dietitian is right for you! Click Here
Try our formulated Gut Nurture! Click Here
Wiertsema, S. P., van Bergenhenegouwen, J., Garssen, J., & Knippels, L. (2021). The Interplay between the Gut Microbiome and the Immune System in the Context of Infectious Diseases throughout Life and the Role of Nutrition in Optimizing Treatment Strategies. Nutrients, 13(3), 886. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13030886
Giambò, Federica, et al. “Toxicology and Microbiota: How Do Pesticides Influence Gut Microbiota? A Review.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, MDPI, 21 May 2021, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8196593/.
Gultekin, Fatih, et al. “Food Additives and Microbiota.” Northern Clinics of Istanbul, Kare Publishing, 17 July 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7117642/.