NEWS

7 Ways to Celebrate Halloween Safely if You Have Diabetes

trick-or-treating during covid-19
Brianna Gilmartin / Verywell

Key Takeaways

  • Moderation and careful consideration of food labels are important for managing diabetes during Halloween.
  • The timing of candy consumption matters, as does the frequency of checking blood sugar levels.
  • Dietitians suggest eating treats that have more substance than pure sugar, like candy with nuts.

For many people, Halloween means lots of sweet treats and sugar. But for those who are managing diabetes, celebrating this spooky holiday can become a bit stressful when trying to keep your blood sugars in check.

People with diabetes can certainly enjoy the holiday season, but they do need to be careful about what they eat to avoid high blood sugar. Since having this diagnosis means that excess carbohydrates may not be metabolized by the body, carbohydrate and added sugar intake needs to be monitored, especially during a candy-laden holiday.

But people with diabetes don’t need to refrain from treats entirely when they are attending Halloween parties or going trick-or-treating with their kids. To enjoy this holiday safely, we asked registered dietitians to share their best tips.

Time Your Sweets

“Try to have your sweet treat right after a balanced meal to help prevent a large sugar spike, and try to choose treats that aren't simply just sugar," Sharon Puello, RD, CDN, CDCES, registered dietitian and certified diabetes instructor, tells Verywell.

So, chocolate snacks made with nuts or nut butter may be a better choice than licorice and lollipops, which are basically all sugar.

Focus On Portion Control 

Puello also shares that paying attention to the portions you are eating is important to avoid eating too much sugar at once.

She highlights that fun-size candies can be a good choice to help keep portion sizes appropriate.

Read Food Labels

People who are managing diabetes can read the food labels of their favorite treats “to know how many grams of carbs are in their favorite Halloween candy,” Jen Scheinman MS, RDN, a registered dietitian, tells Verywell.

She explains that doing this can help people find ways to include the treat “as part of their meal or snack if they count carbs.”

Check Blood Sugars More Often

Scheinman also shares that she “encourages some extra blood glucose checks so that people can see how much the extra treats are impacting the blood sugar.”

By keeping tabs on your blood sugars, you can adjust your diet throughout the day accordingly.

Set Goals for the Day

Julia Stevens,  MPH, RDN, registered dietitian at Active Nutrition, LLC, suggests that people break the holiday down into "before, during, and after."

"Before, don’t buy candy too early, wait until the day of so it’s not calling you from the pantry," she says. "During, only pick the candy you really love and have some in moderation. After, find a place you can donate the leftovers.”

She explains that many churches and other organizations collect candy for troops overseas. Donating leftover treats is a great way to get them out of the house after the holiday. 

Focus On Diabetes-friendly Candy

“Know that there are some more diabetes-friendly Halloween candy options, such as sugar-free candy and dark chocolate bars with nuts,” Jinan Banna, PhD, RD, registered dietitian, tells Verywell. “It's good to keep these options in mind in deciding what candy to hand out, as they can be a good option for you too if you enjoy them!”

Add Instead of Taking Away

It is always better to focus on what you can eat instead of what you cannot.

Taryn, Mattern, MS, RDN, registered dietitian, advises that people, “along with having balanced meals throughout the day, think in terms of, 'What can I add to this piece of candy to help regulate my blood sugar levels?'”

"Is there a way to get in more protein & healthy fats (i.e. nut/seed butter) alongside that piece of candy/chocolate?" she tells Verywell. "This will not only help regulate your blood sugar levels but also reduce that temptation by filling you up just a tad more.”

What This Means For You

If you have diabetes, you can likely still indulge in some Halloween treats. Moderation and preparation are key.


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