Americans purchase nearly 600 million pounds of candy every year for Halloween alone.
All of the extra candy means lots of extra calories and invitations to indulge in sugar throughout the month. If you have diabetes or prediabetes, you have additional reasons to be careful about how much candy you eat. One strategy to decrease temptation (and consumption) is to remove these sugary treats from your home by donating leftover candy.
The following organizations provide opportunities to express your thanks by sending goodies (as well as notes and amenities) to our service men and women.
Operation Gratitude sends care packages to U.S. troops stationed overseas and first responders stateside. The organization’s mission is simple--to put a smile on soldiers’ faces. Kids are encouraged to include letters and pictures, too. Check out the organization’s map for drop-off locations.
Soldier's Angels organizes Treats for Troops annually. Visit the website to find a donation drop-off point, or register to start a drive of your own.
These two organizations also collect and send care packages to troops overseas. Operation Shoebox accepts individually wrapped candies all year long. Meanwhile, Any Soldier allows you to decide which branch of the armed forces you’d like to support.
There are many other local foodbanks and churches who accept pre-wrapped treats for distribution. A simple web search will help you find one near you.
Here are some other strategies to reduce your sweet temptations this Halloween season:
Out of sight, out of mind
Try keeping your favorite fruits and veggies in sight and put the candy somewhere you have to dig for it.
Trade treats for treasures
Reward yourself, or your children, with healthy alternatives. For example: Five candies will buy you a small toy or sports cards. Twenty-five candies will get you a bucket of balls at the driving range. One hundred candies can be redeemed for tickets to the local college basketball game.
Use candy for crafts
Use candy as the raw material to build a holiday house. Have your kids make a candy wreath by gluing packaged candies onto a frame. Fun and decorative at the same time! A great way to use up extra candy and keep the kids busy.
Just add milk
Serve a glass of nonfat milk with a piece of candy. This will help balance what you are consuming and leave less room in your stomach for more candy.
Terry Lumber is the Diabetes and Nutrition Program Coordinator at Chesapeake Regional’s Lifestyle Center. She is a Diabetes Clinical Nurse Specialist with more than 35 years of experience working with people with diabetes. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Nursing and received her master’s degree from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. Terry is Board Certified in Advanced Diabetes Management and is also a Certified Diabetes Educator. She was awarded Fellowship in the American Association of Diabetes Educators in 2012, one of 79 individuals who have received this honor. She is a member of the American Association of Diabetes Educators and the American Diabetes Association and has held numerous volunteer leadership positions with both organizations. She has had diabetes for more than 22 years and loves helping people with diabetes and helping people successfully self-manage this chronic condition.
Adapted from Diabetes and Education Services website. Accessed 10/16/19. https://diabetesed.net/dont-be-spooked-by-leftover-halloween-candy-7-strategies/