For children, both young and the young-at-heart, Halloween is a time of spooky thrills, sugary excess, and the only acceptable time to approach strangers for candy. Halloween is an odd mix of healthy and unhealthy, between long distance walking through neighborhoods in the pursuit of treats – a fairly healthy activity – and subsequently eating copious amounts of candy in celebration of a successful Halloween haul – a decidedly less healthy activity. Here are some tips to make sure you and your family stay healthy and hydrated this Halloween.
Eat Healthy Meals Before Going Out
Eat lots of protein, fiber, and vegetables earlier in the day before you go out trick or treating. This can help offset the unhealthy nutrition from candy later, as well as help fill you up so that you’re less prone to snacking on too much candy.
Drink More Water
Of course, this may seem obvious from a water filtration company, but whether you’re walking through neighborhoods or walking around a parking lot to “trunk or treat,” you will be losing hydration. And given the amount of sugar eaten as people sample their Halloween treats, it’s best not to add more sugar through drinking. Make sure that you pack some bottles filled with clean, healthy water for the kids, and avoid sugary sodas and fruit juices.
Here are some tips to get your trick or treaters drinking more water:
- Give them a Halloween-themed reusable water bottle to carry
- Add Halloween stickers or decorations to an existing reusable water bottle
- Drink some water at regular defined intervals, e.g., every four houses, every block, or every five car trunks
- Make a rule that for every piece of candy they eat, they need to take a drink of water
And for grown-ups going out to Halloween parties, make sure to drink a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you drink. This can prevent some of the dehydrating effects of alcohol consumption, which can help prevent hangovers the next day.
Know How Much Sugar You’re Eating
When it comes to sugar, most Halloween candy is loaded with “added sugar,” i.e., sugar that is not naturally part of a food, such as in milk or fruits. And while most dietary guidelines have no issues against foods with natural sugars, most recommendations suggest limiting added sugars.
According to the American Heart Association, men should try to limit themselves to 9 tsp (38 g) of added sugar a day, while women should try to limit their intake of added sugar to 6 tsp (25 g) a day. The Center for Disease Control suggests limiting added sugars to 10% of your daily caloric intake. If your daily caloric intake is 2000 calories, you should limit yourself to 200 calories of added sugar, equal to 12.5 tsp or 52 g.
For reference, here are several popular Halloween candies and their sugar content for one “fun size” serving:
- 3 Musketeers: 10 g
- Butterfinger: 7 g
- Hershey’s Bar: 7 g
- Kit Kat: 7 g
- M&Ms: 9 g
- Milky Way: 10.5 g
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup: 8.5 g
- Skittles: 11 g
- Snickers: 9 g
- Starburst: 8 g
- Twix: 8 g
Go Easy on Sour Candies to Protect Your Teeth
According to the Minnesota Dental Association, sour candies are especially hazardous to your teeth, because their sourness comes from high acidity. That high acidity can quickly weaken and wear away tooth enamel, making your teeth much more vulnerable to cavities and tooth decay.
For reference, here are the pH levels of several popular sour candies. While a pH of 7 is considered neutral (water is typically pH 7), anything below pH 7 is considered acidic, with battery acid possessing a pH of 1.
- Nerds: pH 2.0
- Starburst: pH 2.4
- Sour Gummi Bears: pH 3.0
- Sour Skittles: pH 2.2
- Sweetarts: pH 3.0
- WarHeads Sour Spray: pH 1.6
Even more than with regular candies, make sure that any sour candies eaten are followed by a healthy drink of water. This will not only keep you hydrated, but may help alleviate the effects of the acidic candies on your teeth.
Halloween can be a fun time for children and adults. For children, it can mean exploring the neighborhood, collecting and eating candy, and spending time dressed up in costume. For adults, it can also mean spending time with good friends and enjoying good drinks. Just make sure to make smart decisions during Halloween to ensure your hydration and your health while you’re having fun.
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- “Hydration Through Halloween.” Water Coolers Direct. October 26, 2017. https://www.watercoolersdirect.com/blog/halloween-hydration-2/
- McCardle, Laura, and Leslie Barrie. “7 Treat-Related Tricks for a Healthier Halloween.” Everyday Health. October 3, 2022. https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/treat-related-tricks-for-a-healthier-halloween/
- “Stay Hydrated on Halloween by Avoiding Carbonated Beverages…” Pro ECO Life. Last accessed October 17, 2022. https://proecolife.com/halloween-hydration/
- Sugar, Jenny. “We've Unwrapped the Calorie Counts of Your Favorite Halloween Candy.” Popsugar. September 27, 2021. https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Calories-Halloween-Candy-Fun-Size-Treats-5452936