Enjoying Halloween with Diabetes
Everyone loves Halloween, especially children, whether it’s dressing up, having a party or going trick or treating with friends. If your child is diabetic however, it can be hard to handle their condition without making them feel left out of the festive activities. Read on for some low-sugar, diabetic treat ideas and the health benefits of that Halloween favourite, pumpkin.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a common health condition where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high, because the body doesn’t produce insulin correctly. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 is when the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin and type 2 is where not enough insulin is made or the little that’s made doesn’t work properly.
Diabetics have to carefully control their blood sugar levels, often through medication, a healthy diet and regular exercise. Foods that are high in saturated fat and sugar, such as fizzy drinks, puddings and sweets, immediately raise blood sugar levels in a spike which is then followed by a low, so diabetics are recommended to opt for diet/light, low calorie or no sugar options.
Diabetic Pumpkin Treats
If your child wants to go out trick or treating, why not arrange with friends to have some sugar free or healthy treats on offer? Fruit, nuts and sugar free sweets are easy to buy and carry, or you could try making some diabetic friendly pumpkin treats. Give these Pumpkin Bars a go or take a look at Diabetic Living for some more pumpkin ideas.
Makes: 25 servings
Carb Grams Per Serving: 11
½ cup 60% to 70% tub-style vegetable oil spread, softened
½ cup packed brown sugar*
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice**
1/3 cup canned pumpkin ***
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ 8 – ounce package reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup heavy whipping cream, 3 tablespoons of icing sugar added and whipped until thick
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour a 9x9x2-inch baking pan. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine vegetable oil spread, brown sugar, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well mixed. Beat in pumpkin and egg. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.
Spread dough into prepared pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in half of the whipped cream. Fold in remaining dessert topping. Spread over cooled pumpkin layer. If desired, sprinkle with nutmeg. Cut into bars.
*Sugar Substitutes: We do not recommend sugar substitutes for this recipe.
** You can buy this spice mix ready-made or simply make you own blend. Mix 3 tbsp of ground cinnamon, 2 tsp of ground ginger, 2 tsp of ground nutmeg, 1 ½ tsp of ground allspice and 1 ½ tsp of ground cloves to create the spice mix. Slightly alter the quantities to your personal taste.
** You can use fresh pumpkin instead here if you’d prefer. One small pumpkin will make about two cups of pumpkin puree. Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and roast until soft and squishy. Scoop out the now soft flesh and blend to create a puree.
Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Servings Per Recipe: 25
PER SERVING: 90 cal., 4 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 3 mg chol., 75 mg sodium, 11 g carb. (5 g sugars), 1 g pro.
Diabetic Exchanges – Fat (d.e): 0.5; Other Carb (d.e): 1
Pumpkin Health Benefits
Many people don’t realise that pumpkin is actually a fruit. This autumnal produce can vary in size from 4kg up to a whopping 25kg! The fruit is very nutritious, being high in fibre and often recommended in cutting cholesterol and losing weight. The yellow-orange flesh contains many anti-oxidants like vitamin-A, vitamin-C and vitamin-E, plus B-complex group vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) and thiamine. It’s a rich source of minerals copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus, and the seeds are an excellent source of dietary fibre, protein and mono-unsaturated fatty acids.
Staying Safe Whilst Trick or Treating
If your child is going trick or treating with friends, why not invest in some medical ID jewellery to keep others alerted to their diabetes, allergy or other health condition? A fun silicone wristband will hold all their medical information should anything happen to them, plus will blend in with their Halloween costume. They’re super strong and flexible, so will handle anything your kids get up to.