Halloween Dietary Considerations

Costumes, loud noises, sugar, sugar, and more sugar... For families with autism, Halloween can be a nightmare. Below are some precautions that can help prevent your child from goblin up foods they are sensitive and/or allergic to. 

Candy

  • Teach your child not to eat anything they get from trick-or-treating without your permission.
  • A house with a teal pumpkin on the doorstep will have non-food treats available for trick-or-treaters.
  • Before Halloween, deliver allergy-friendly treats to neighbors to give to your child on Halloween.
    • Be sure to explain to them about your child, what they will be dressed as, and how much your whole family will appreciate their support.
  • Exchange the candy your child can’t eat for something extra special they’ll enjoy, such as:
    • Toys; candy/treats that are safe for them to eat; money; extra time on electronics; a trip to the zoo, movies, or local theme park; etc.
    Party Food
    • Find out what’s on the menu so you can bring along similar items that are safe for your child to eat.
      • Consider bringing enough for your child to share with everyone so they don’t feel singled out eating something that’s different from everyone else.
    • Don’t let your child eat food or candy of which you are unfamiliar.

    5 Foods That Can Make Autism Worse

    DAIRY
    When people with ASD removed dairy from their diet, they began talking more, their hyperactivity was reduced, and bowel problems were resolved.
    GLUTEN
    Although the research on gluten-free diets is mixed, many parents of children with autism report seeing improvements in symptoms when they eliminate gluten from their child’s meals.
    SUGAR
    Not only is sugar pro-inflammatory, but it also increases erratic brain cell firing and it is very addictive. People with ASD, like those with type 2 diabetes, have impaired glucose tolerance and excessive levels of insulin (a condition known as hyperinsulinemia). Because of this, consuming sugar may magnify improper insulin signaling.
    Avoiding sugar and refined carbohydrates and increasing lean protein can dramatically improve concentration and judgment, and decrease impulsiveness.
    ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS
    If you or a loved one has ASD, paying close attention to the foods being consumed is particularly important. For kids with autism, we often recommend an elimination diet—eliminating gluten, dairy, sugar, corn, soy, and other categories of potentially allergenic foods. 

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