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- Kids consume over 170g of sugar from sweets on Halloween
The research reveals that a child can consume 172g of sugar from sugary treats on the spooky night. This exceeds a child’s sugar RDI by 616% and is almost seven times over the maximum recommended daily intake (24g).
It means a child can consume almost 1330 calories in sweets alone on the frightful night. According to the NHS, the daily calories a seven-year-old boy and girl need are 1,649kcal and 1,530kcal, respectively. This means that a child of this age can consume almost their whole daily calorie intake in sweets alone in one day.
The research has been conducted by Future Fit Training, the UK’s leading training provider for nutrition advisers and personal trainers.
Anne-Marie O'Shea, Head of Nutrition at Future Fit Training, said: “When considering what the maximum daily intake of sugar is for a child, these stats really are quite shocking. A child could consume a frightening amount of sugar in just one night. While trick-or-treating is a lot of harmless fun for children, parents should be wary of this, think about their child’s health, consider making sweets last, and providing and asking for healthier alternatives. It probably won’t be realistic for them to avoid chocolate and sweets completely, so aim for moderation rather than a complete ban.”
The research was based on if a child visits 15 houses trick-or-treating on Halloween, collecting a portion of sweets and chocolate bars from each house. These consisted of 10 best sellers: a Freddo bar (10g of sugar), a Curly Wurly (13g), Haribo Starmix (11.75g for seven sweets) a small pack of Haribo Tangfastics (8g of sugar), Strawberry Laces (11.2g for one third of a bag), a Kinder Chocolate bar (6.7g), as well as a variety pack Mars bar (9.8g), Maoam Stripes (15g of sugar for 25g), Strawberry Pencils, and Fizzy Fangs (15g for one third of a bag for each).
When considering packets of sweets that children would collect, the research involved calculating the manufacturers’ recommended portion of these sweets, such as seven sweets in a Haribo Starmix.
Anne-Marie suggests there are much healthier alternatives to many of the sweets in the list. These include pieces of fruit, raisins, cheese – swapping sugar for calcium – and Organix Mini Oaty Bites, which contain just 2g of sugar. The chocolate bar, Cadbury Dairy Milk 30% Less Sugar, is a good alternative too. It’s even worth considering handing out small toys and party bag favours, which is especially good for children who might have allergies. She also provides useful advice to make sure children eat healthier on Halloween.
“The trick, pun intended, to getting kids to eat healthier treats at Halloween is to make it fun” she said. “You could get children to make scary characters from raw fruit and vegetables, nuts, cheese and savoury foods. Also, before your children go trick-or-treating, organise a haunted supper beforehand where they can fill up on more nutritious foods, thus limiting their appetite for sweets later.”
- Banana ghosts – Banana halves on lollipop sticks, with chocolate buttons for eyes and raisins for mouths
- Eyeball pasta – Create eyeballs from mini mozzarella balls and olive slices. Put on top of spaghetti bolognaise or your child’s favourite pasta dish
- Scary potato heads – Carve faces into small unpeeled potatoes and bake in the oven. Serve with a ‘blood’ dip (ketchup).
- Witches fingers – Slice up thin strips of pizza with triangles of tomato at the end for fingernails. Serve with a green ‘slime’ dip (sour cream and avocado)