Critter Corner- Grandma Loves Halloween Candy: Tips for Eating Healthier

Dear Commander Bun Bun,
My grandmother has gone through two bags of Halloween candy and there haven’t been any trick-or-treaters yet. At this rate, she will have to hang up a no more candy sign before school even lets out. This is not just the case on Halloween. She beelines for the candy aisle at the supermarket and will eat fruit only if it is chocolate covered. I want grandma to be around for a long time. Any tips on how I can get her to cut down on the sweets?
Candy Eden
Dear Candy,
I am glad to be a bunny, because by default, I am healthy. In fact, I think carrots and lettuce are divine (and chocolate covered anything is yucky)!
For your grandmother and others, it’s never too late to start eating healthy. No matter how old you are or how unhealthy you may have been in the past, caring for your body has enormous benefits that will help you stay active, sharpen your memory, manage health problems, boost your immune system, and increase your energy.
As you age, your relationship to food changes along with your body. A decreased metabolism, slower digestion, and changes in taste and smell may affect your appetite, the foods you are able to eat, and how your body processes food. Now, more than ever, healthy eating is essential to maintain your energy and health.
These are some tips for healthy eating:
-Eat lots of high-fiber whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Consume fiber-rich foods such as fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Take it from me — a distant cousin of the Energizer Bunny himself — they will help Grandma feel more energetic and give her the fuel to keep on going!
-Take Supplemental Digestive Enzymes. If all that fiber gives you a bit of gas now and then, your body may be deficient in the production of digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes are necessary for digesting food, for stimulating the brain, for providing cellular energy, and for repairing body tissues, organs, and cells. Digestive enzymes ensure that we get the greatest possible nutritional value from foods. When foods are not well-digested, they remain in the stomach and can rot and putrefy. This can result in a buildup of waste in the colon which begins to decay, producing bacteria and toxins which eventually can seep through the bowel wall, where blood capillaries pick them up and distribute them throughout the body. This can result in all kinds of health problems, including constipation, stomach bloat, poor digestion, gas, fatigue, weight gain or weight loss, headaches, and more. Taking sufficient digestive enzymes ensures that your foods are more completely digested, helping to eliminate potential problems due to toxins.
-Watch out for dehydration. Because of physical changes, older adults are more prone to dehydration. Make sure your Grandma is drinking plenty of fluids, even if she doesn’t feel thirsty. If she’s not getting enough water, she won’t be as sharp and her energy will suffer. Keep in mind, water is best for people, but in my opinion, chilled carrot juice also tastes amazing.
-Host a social event (and maybe stage an impromptu mini-intervention). Invite Grandma and a group of her friends over for lunch or dinner or another social event and be sure to put out bowls of candy along with lots of healthy food choices. When Grandma over-indulges in the candy in front of all her friends, maybe her friends (with your encouragement) will gently nudge/guilt her in a healthier direction. Hopefully the peer pressure will steer her towards healthier eating, and you won’t have to be the “bad guy.”
Bottom line: you can’t control what anyone else eats, but you can certainly help educate and steer your grandma in the right direction. And while helping to educate your grandma about the downsides of all that sugar, you might want to also let her know that dark chocolate actually has some health benefits! If she’s going to eat candy, it might as well have some health value.
Hoppy Halloween,
Commander Bun Bun


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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.