Halloween Tricks!

And the award for the best costume goes to… Halloween candy! When you look at familiar wrappers that remind you of the days when you were emptying out your own trick-or-treat bag and dividing up your loot with glee, those wrappers may mask some big changes that have happened to the candy inside.

Chances are that when you were a kid, your favorites weren’t made with genetically modified, partially hydrogenated (trans) fats or with high fructose corn syrup. In fact, many of the foods our kids eat today may look like the foods we ate as kids, but contain cheaper, chemical ingredients.

Thankfully, there are lots of bars and other candies that are made without these cheap substitutes and with real food ingredients that your kids will love – including a few from the major manufactures.

If we choose to let our kids enjoy the great annual candy binge, let’s let the treats they love and remember include high quality real candy.

Because childhood is also different today than when we were kids…. Middle aged conditions such as high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, abnormal blood glucose, and waist size over 40 inches were very uncommon in kids just twenty years ago. Today, one large study found that two thirds of American high school students already have at least one of these conditions! And, what we used to call adult onset diabetes is now the most common form of diabetes as early as elementary school. I’m a high quality chocolate fan. When we hit the intersection of treats loved by kids, without the cheap substitution tricks, we all win.

At our home, we look for candy to hand out that passes the kids’ pleasure test and is made from real (and better yet, organic) ingredients. We’ve used organic chocolate bars from Trader Joes or Whole Foods, and Newman’s Own peanut butter cups, caramel cups, or peppermint patties. Endangered Species Bug Bites have been a hit with the younger kids – bite size chocolate with trading cards.

Published on: October 31, 2007
About the Author
Photo of Dr. Alan Greene
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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