For many kids, Halloween is the best day of the year. But for diabetic children and their parents, Halloween can be a real challenge. Almost every kid wants to trick-or-treat, but what to do about all those sugary candies that your child shouldn’t eat? It is tough to exclude your child from the fun, so here is some information to help your family make this a safe and fun Halloween.
Candy and Carbs
To celebrate Halloween, some parents allow their children to feast on an array of sugar-free candies and healthy snacks. But what many people that are new to diabetes do not realize is that sugar-free” does not necessarily equal a free pass to enjoying sweets. Parents must pay close attention not just to the amount of sugar that a diabetic child consumes, but also to the amount of carbohydrates. Some sugar-free candies are loaded with carbs and require type 1 diabetics to inject insulin after eating them. About half of a day’s insulin is required to counteract carbs consumed, so it is important to keep track of carbohydrate intake to adjust insulin dosage appropriately.
One of the first measures to take is to make sure your child understands the effects of sugar and carbs on the bloodstream. Realistically, your child will sometimes eat unhealthy foods, just like most people do. Let your child know that diabetics can eat such treats on occasion, but that having too much can be dangerous. Be specific about how much is “too much”, and help your child calculate how much insulin he or she would need to balance out his or her blood sugar level. Helping your child learn to make wise choices independently is key to managing diabetes. Ask your doctor to explain to you and your child how to count carbs and estimate needed insulin.
A Happy Halloween
Make a plan with your child to go trick-or-treating and give away the candy to someone who will enjoy it. After all, isn’t it the trick-or-treating itself that’s the most fun, and not the candy? You may wish to give a special toy, present, or a few sugar-free Halloween treats to your child when the fun is over so that he or she can indulge a little, too. With wise choices and portion control, your diabetic child can enjoy Halloween just as much as anyone!
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