We are entering that time of year where it really is tough to be on a restricted diet, especially one without sugar. Halloween, then pie-season (some call it Thanksgiving), then December holidays. Binge, binge, binge, then clean up one’s diet in January? Well, some of us with chronic illness won’t be able to participate in the festivities if we indulge since the sugar takes us down. So why not find some alternatives so you can have a treat and not feel sick.
There’s obviously plenty of candies/treats you can make yourself but I’d like to talk about naturally derived sugar-free packaged treat options so you can think about this for kids with restrictions, having an extra bag on hand so you don’t cheat, etc.
The jury is still out about xylitol I think, I’ve heard a lot of debating. It is somewhat refined. It’s a sugar alcohol, which means it tastes sweet but doesn’t absorb in your body like sugar would. Try to get xylitol derived from birchbark, not from GMO corn. Please use moderately if you are not used to it. It can be harsh on certain people’s digestion. Dentist recommend it for teeth. Be careful as it’s extremely toxic to dogs.
Xyla candies: These are lot like smarties. Tart and fruity. I have found some on Lucky Vitamin and at certain Whole Foods stores.
Xyla used to only have xylitol in their lollypops but now they have added isomalt. Their old variety, which I really like, can still be found online.
Ice Chips: These to me are the best Xylitol candies but they only come in tins. Maybe not the best for a trick-or-treat but lovely for a strong candy taste. I love the margarita flavor and strawberry daiquiri. (Many but not all flavors are vegan.)
There’s not many out there but it’s a growing market. Often the stevia is mixed with erithritol, which is similar to xylitol, a sugar alcohol. Coco Polo dark chocolate bars are vegan.
You can always make your own chocolate with my coconut oil chocolate recipe or melt a 100% baker’s chocolate bar down and sweeten with stevia as desired.
Agave was big a few years ago until people started realizing it was pretty high in fructose which could be harsh on the liver. However if eaten in small quantities it can be ok. Not recommended for a strict anti-candida protocol, but a better alternative than sugar. Much less sweet than honey or maple syrup.
Where to find? Lots of raw chocolate bars tend to be agave-sweetened. Some may be coconut-nectar or coconut sugar sweetened. Raw chocolate can have a steep price tag, but maybe this is a little bar to the side for yourself so you don’t get tempted. My favorite raw chocolates are Righteously Raw and Organic Nectars. The good things is raw chocolate is pretty readily found at Health food stores and Whole Foods.
Dried fruit snacks
The good old standby for Halloween: packs of raisins. Hey I mean kids may not like these, but it’s an option. The all natural fruit leathers are a good option for handing out to a crowd. However if you have chronic illnesses, you may still need to limit your dried fruit as it is quite sweet.
Options: larabars (sweetened with dates), mini larabars, stretch fruit leather, boxes of raisins.
If you must hand out treats, there’s always going a whole different direction. This year, I plan to hand out temporary tattoos. One time we handed out mini bags of pretzels (not gluten-free). You could get little toys. Or just give out coins. Or just turn out the lights and go to bed.
Note: Most of the snacks mentioned should be sugar-free and gluten-free with vegan options. However always read labels if you must avoid ingredients.
Please feel free to add any items I didn’t mention in the comments!