Advice for celebrating Halloween when living with diabetes
Halloween. Samhain. All-Hallows Eve. Whatever name you call it, the 31st October brings with it spooks, goblins, thrills, chills, and sweets for kids of all ages, and many adults too. Living with diabetes can make Halloween a difficult time for people who celebrate this holiday.
You get to dress up in costumes, decorate your home, and dish up delicious treats to your close friends and family. When you have diabetes, Halloween can be a mountain of temptation, making it easy to stray from the healthy plan you have worked so hard to create for yourself. However, it doesn’t have to be, especially if you consider healthier options that help you limit blood sugar spikes. Here are some of the things that can help you stay true to the spirit of Halloween without consuming excessive amounts of sugar.
It is important to focus on ‘can’ rather than ‘cannot’. A diabetes diagnosis does not mean you must live a life without sugar. However, it does mean that your body is unable to process sugar in the same way as someone without diabetes, so you need to adjust how many, and which, sweets you consume. This is especially true during times like Halloween when sugary treats are in abundant supply.
A good idea is to create a personal rule of eating good foods first. If you focus on filling up on good foods first – filling, low carb options made with whole foods – you’re less likely to overindulge on treats.
Choose your treats wisely. Most sweet makers offer “fun size” or smaller size versions. These contain less sugar than their larger counterparts, allowing you to enjoy them with less blood sugar spikes.
When reducing the amount of sugar you put into your body, size is not the only consideration. Some sweets have less sugar than others. Dark chocolate, for instance, is a healthier choice than milk or white chocolate.
If you have not had, you may find that the sugar-free versions of sweets make for delicious substitutions that can satisfy your sugar cravings. Just remember to enjoy these in moderation as well.
Choose fruit as a treat
Fruit offers a healthier form of sugar, in moderation, of course. Berries are among the best to choose when seeking to limit sugar spikes. An apple can be a satisfying treat to eat that is perfectly suited to Halloween festivities.
You can also make a variety of snacks and treats that include pumpkin as a primary ingredient. Or make a variety of other fun, healthy Halloween treats.
Also, don’t forget to save the seeds from your pumpkin for roasting. They make tasty treats that satisfy salty food cravings and they are full of a variety of health benefits.
Focus on festivities rather than food
There are many exciting activities to enjoy around Halloween that do not involve food. This includes fun things like:
- Decorating your own haunted houses
- Telling ghost stories
- Watching your favourite spooky movie
- Pumpkin carving
Focus your attention on activities in your own home, where you can plan the menu.
Your Halloween menu can be a “Spooktacular” array of finger foods and not-so-sweet treats that carry the Halloween theme throughout the night. Take a look at these spooktacular Halloween recipes from DIabetes UK.
Diabetes UK recommends exercise as an important tool for managing blood sugar levels. If you stay active throughout the evening, you might discover that your blood sugar levels remain fairly stable even if you indulge in a small treat along the way. Exercise also helps insulin work more effectively, by reducing the body’s insulin resistance.
Perhaps one of the most important things to remember during Halloween is that you are not alone. According to the International Diabetes Federation, in 2021 there were 537 million adults living with diabetes worldwide. Managing your diabetes often involves a multi-step process that includes:
- Following a healthy diet
- Taking appropriate medications
- Monitoring blood sugar levels regularly if appropriate
- Engaging in moderate physical activity daily
- Regularly screening for signs of complications
If you are struggling with your diabetes diagnosis or your treatment plan, talk to your healthcare professional. Your doctor may be able to recommend tools such as the mySugr® app* to help you manage your diabetes, especially during times of greater temptation, like Halloween. Visit our blood glucoses monitoring page for some handy tools that may help you monitor your blood glucose levels.
* The mySugr Bolus Calculator is licensed for people with diabetes over the age of 18 years. The mySugr logbook is licensed for people with diabetes over the age of 16 years.
The views expressed in the Accu-Chek blog are not necessarily those of Roche Diabetes Care Limited. The content is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely – you must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content. Although we make reasonable efforts to ensure that the content is up to date, we make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content is accurate, complete or up-to-date.
- Medical News Today, What are the health benefits of pumpkin seeds?, [Online]. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/303864 (Accessed 27th Sept 2022)
- Diabetes UK, Halloween recipes spooktacular, [Online]. Available from: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/cooking-for-peo... (Accessed 27th Sept 2022)
- Diabetes UK, Halloween, [Online]. Available from: hhttps://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/cooking-for-peo... (Accessed 27th Sept 2022)
- International Diabetes Federation, Diabetes Facts & Figures, [Online]. Available from: https://idf.org/aboutdiabetes/what-is-diabetes/facts-figures.html (Accessed 27th Sept 2022)