Tag Archives: sugar

Happy, Healthy Halloween !!

Halloween is fast approaching, and so a large amount of sugar that kids will be eating between parties and trick-or-treating!!

Recent reports show that American children can eat up to 3 cups (almost 400 grams) of sugar on Halloween!!

That is almost 16 times the maximum daily recommendation of 6 teaspoons (25 grams) suggested by the American Heart Association for kids.

Yes, that’s way too much and it’s a big threat to kids’ health considering that high intake of sugar is linked to cavities, tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer.

Unfortunately, sugar consumption is high not only on October 31. Data show that an average American child eats 95 grams of sugar a day, almost 4 times the daily recommendation.

Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to prohibit children from enjoying sweet treats on Halloween; it’s more logical to reduce the amount they eat.

If you’re concerned about your children eating too many sweet treats on Halloween, here’s some simple strategies you can adopt to reduce the amount of sugar they consume.

  • Make children eat some healthy, protein-rich snacks or a hearty dinner before going trick-or-treating. It will fill them up and will prevent them from eating all the treats at once
  • Set an amount of candy that your child can have on that night, and save the rest for next days/weeks/months
  • Cut the sugar from the other meals of the day. For example, for breakfast, instead of sugary-cereal, choose plain yogurt or granola bar without added sugar
  • If you throw a party, offer some healthy alternatives to the usual candy bar and cookies plates. Check below.

I collected some colorful, funny ideas for a happy and healthy Halloween from the internet. Prepare these treats with your kids and have fun together!!!

Banana ghosts and orange pumpkins

banana mandariniVery easy to prepare. Peel the bananas, cut them and use some chocolate chips for eyes and mouth. For the orange pumpkins, peel the tangerines or clementines, place a celery stick in the center for the stem.

Pumpkin Veggie Platters

carrotsolivescucumbersSuper easy, healthy and funny/scary veggie tray. Shape a spooky pumpkin face using baby carrots and black olive. The stem can be made from broccoli or a celery stick. Add some sliced cucumbers on the bottom.

Use baby carrots for the face, sliced cucumbers or zucchine for the pumpkin’s smile. Fill small bowls with veggie dip (humus, Greek yogurt) and use them for the pumpkin’s eyes and nose.

Spooky Spider Eggs

halloweeneggsThese eggs are yummy and will fill kids up. You need hard boiled eggs and black olives. Slice eggs in half lengthwise and place yolks in a bowl. Mash the yolk, add some olive oil, few drops of lemon, and stir until well mixed. Then spoon the yolk mixture back into each white egg half. For the spider, place half black olive in the center of the yolk to make the body, and slice the other half to make the legs.

Monster Fruit Cups

monster fruit cupYou don’t need to be a professional painter to make this, just a marker, plastic cups and fruit!! Kids will have lot of fun creating monster faces!!

Almost done. You now need the centerpiece 😉

Pumpkin Centerpiece Fruit Skewers

pumpkincenterpiece

Don’t even need to carve the pumpkin. Just use a marker to put a smile on it 😉 And lots of fruit skewers of course!!

Have a Happy & Healthy Halloween!!!

 

#SugarTax UK

Last week, the UK government announced the introduction of a sugar levy on soft drinks that will be effective in 2018.

taxs

The tax will be split in two levels: one for drinks with total sugar content above 5g per 100 milliliters and a second for the most sugary drinks containing more than 8g per 100 milliliters. Small producers, pure fruit juices and milk-based drinks will be exempted.

The government expects that the tax will be passed entirely on the consumers and the revenue collected, an estimated £520m the first year, will be spent to fund sports in primary schools, at least in England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are free to decide how to spend their share.

Adding a tax on fizzy drinks should discourage or at least reduce the consumption of sugar, present in high amount in these beverages (a can of soda contains up to 40 grams of free sugars, around 10 teaspoons).

sugar drinksThe guidelines issued by the World Health Organizations (WHO) in March 2015 recommend to reduce sugar intake to less that 10% of total calories (about 12.5 teaspoons). A further reduction to below 5% (6 teaspoons) of total energy is suggested. These recommendations are based on the results of scientific studies that showed a positive association between high amount of sugar in the diet and weight gain and higher rates of dental caries. In addition, other studies showed that children who consume high quantities of sugar-sweetened drinks tend to be overweight or obese.

Which were the reactions to this announcement?

Chef Jamie Oliver, who strongly advocated for this tax, was happy about the decision made by the government, but he also said that the tax alone won’t be enough to tackle obesity.

Public Health England and other organizations such as International Diabetes Federation (IDF) welcomed the initiative.

Others, like Professor Robert Lustig, criticized the decision of the UK government not to tax fruit juices. After all, they can contain as much sugar as sodas so why exempt them?

What about the soda industry? How did they react? Coca-Cola Great Britain said that a tax is not the proper solution to obesity and they, along with other soft drink companies, want to sue the government for discrimination, because the tax won’t affect fruit juices or milkshakes!

Will a soda tax work?

With this economic tool, UK joined other countries such as France, Mexico, and Norway that already have a similar measure or will soon have it (South Africa in 2017).

In Mexico, the tax on soft drinks came into effect in 2014, and a recent study concluded that the purchase of these drinks declined by 12% by December 2014.

Berkley, California, introduced the tax in November 2014 but an analysis conducted by Cornell University and University of Iowa showed that less than half of the tax was passed on the consumers. As a result, soft drinks aren’t more expensive and their sales didn’t decrease.

Indeed, such a policy tool must be designed with particular care otherwise it will be ineffective.

The levy on sugary drinks in UK will come into force in April 2018 so companies will have time to reformulate their products, besides investing a lot of money in campaigns to beat back the tax.

Hopefully, the government will use this time to implement the plan to make sure this powerful economic tool won’t fail, and that it will spend the money that will be raised to promote healthy eating and physical activity.