One of the great traits of humans, me included, is our ability to quickly forget the excesses of last year’s Halloween, when we probably over indulged by eating our fair share of sweets and other assorted treats.

Here we are, same time, same place and Halloween beckons.

Some scary truths we need to face up to:

* In the last two decades, the levels of overweight and obese adults and children in Ireland have doubled
* Only 40% of the population are at a healthy weight
* Ireland is on track to become Europe’s heaviest nation
* The direct and indirect cost to the country of obesity in Ireland is estimated at roughly €1.13 billion per year
* 6 out of 10 adults are overweight or obese with the number rising to 3 out of 4 in adults that are over the age of 50
* 1 out of 4 children are overweight or obese
* Over the age of 50, carrying extra weight puts you at higher risk of disability, chronic illness and loss of independence
* Obesity is a key risk factor for chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis and poor mental health
* Carrying extra weight during pregnancy increases your risk of complications and/or having an overweight child
* Heart disease and diabetes, which often accompany obesity can take years off your life and drastically reduce your quality of living

While these statistics may be hard to believe they unfortunately reflect the scary state our is in. The good news is it is never too late to turn over a new leaf and take control of your weight. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the key to success – a balanced diet and regular physical activity are of the utmost importance.

The diets of Irish people with weight issues shows excess consumption of processed foods that are rich in saturated fats, trans fats, sugars and salt, and most worryingly, a low consumption of fruit and vegetables.

Currently only 1 in 4 of us are getting our recommended 5 a day when it comes to fruit and vegetables, with 7 out of 10 adults not meeting recommended physical activity guidelines.

At Halloween, supermarket shelves overflow with discounted multipacks of sweets, chocolate and crisps, all encouraging us to stock up for the occasion. To compound the challenge, parents are faced with a break in routine over the mid-term holidays that often results in poor diet choices for both parent and child alike.

So, to have a healthy Halloween, cook some wholesome and tasty meals during the mid-term break and also offer trick-or-treaters some options that are just as tasty but lower in sugar and fat.

For a healthy Halloween, we’ve compiled a special recipe pack. Click here to download.

Blog Post by Michael O'Brien