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6 Tips For A Diabetes-Friendly Halloween

Halloween is the kickoff to a season of sweet indulgences. But it's still possible to have a healthy Halloween and holiday season. The following tips can help keep you and your family on a healthy track.
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Halloween is the kickoff to a season of sweet indulgences. But it's still possible to have a healthy Halloween and holiday season. The following tips can help keep you and your family on a healthy track.

  1. Take the fright out of Halloween. For parents of children with diabetes, nothing can be more frightening than the thought of a holiday full of sugar-laden treats. However, Chef Dana Herbert, Winner of TLC's flagship show "Cake Boss: Next Great Baker" and chef with the Novo Nordisk Diabetes Academy, says it doesn't have to be that way. Making sure sweets are accounted for in the child's diabetes meal plan the day of Halloween is key. "I recommend parents talk to their children's healthcare provider ahead of the holiday to develop an individualized diabetes meal plan and to determine what will work best for their child," says Chef Dana.

  • Set the ground rules. Come up with a plan for dealing with sweets and treats that everyone in the household agrees with. A popular choice is to ration candy or desserts for a period of time. "You can have one or two pieces of candy each day for a week." Make sure this plan goes equally for everyone in the house, parents too!
  • Buy treats your child does not like. Your child is less likely to overindulge if the sweet treats you have in the house do not tempt them--or you! Also, make sure to have healthy snacks available to give your child an option instead of Halloween or other seasonal candy.
  • Purchase treats on the day you need them. Buy treats the day you plan to eat or distribute them. If you are buying candy or goodies for a holiday or gathering, keep them in the house for as short a period of time as possible and give away the leftovers.
  • Consider some alternative. Offer to buy back your child's candy and give them money to buy toys or games. Trade candy for going out to the movies or to the arcade. Save some of the candy for when your child has hypoglycemia and donate the rest to a charity or a children's hospital.
  • Make homemade treats. Homemade treats are the best bet. For a healthy and tasty treat the whole family can enjoy on Halloween or anytime during the holiday season Chef Dana recommends making this Chocolate Gingerbread Crinkles recipe. "I have a passion for food, and I've learned along the way that making healthy versions of some of my favorite foods is actually a lot of fun! With these gingerbread crinkles, you don't have to worry about sacrificing flavor. They're delicious - and diabetes-friendly!" says Chef Dana.
  • Chocolate Gingerbread Crinkles

    Makes: 24 servings

    • 1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/3 cup canola oil
    • 1/4 cup dark molasses
    • 1 egg
    • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • Directions:
    • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

  • Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together 1/2 cup of sugar, oil, molasses, and egg in a large bowl. Add flour mixture and chocolate chips to the sugar mixture just until blended.
  • Sprinkle remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar on a small plate. Roll the dough into 1 1/2- nch balls, making a total of 24 balls. Roll the balls in the sugar and place on the baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies are cracked slightly and soft in the center, 12-15 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Nutritional Information: Per serving (1 cookie): 100 calories, 4 g fat (0.5 g saturated, 0 g trans), 10 mg cholesterol, 70 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein.
  • Knowing carb counts is another important aspect of managing diabetes during the holidays. However, you won't find the carb content on the wrapper of those little bite-sized pieces of Halloween candy. So you'll want to click here for the carb counts of some of the most popular candies of the season.


    Chef Dana is part of Eat and Test (E.A.T.) for Diabetes Health, a national campaign by Novo Nordisk that aims to educate adults living with diabetes about mealtime blood sugar spikes and the importance of testing their blood sugar after eating a meal. Click here to learn more about this campaign.