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5 tips for surviving Halloween

Healthy Halloween banana ghosts and orange pumpkins

Halloween is a celebration of sweets and treats, but if you’re trying to cut calories, it can be a challenge to keep your hands out of the candy bowl. Even though they are miniature size, each of those candy bars can add 50-150 calories to your diet. Here are a few tips to make it easier to avoid temptation:

  1. Don’t keep your favorite candy on hand. If you have a favorite Halloween candy, don’t include it in what you choose to give out on Halloween. Avoid buying more than you will need to give out, and avoid buying candy far in advance. If possible, choose a healthy treat to give out instead of candy! Halloween candy is a lot easier to avoid when it is not tempting you from your pantry every day – especially for weeks in advance!
  2. Don’t skip meals to make room for Halloween goodies. Going to a Halloween party? Know there will be a tempting candy bowl at the office later? The worst thing to do in these situations is to skip a meal to “make room” for the extra calories you anticipate consuming. Make sure to fit in healthy meals with lean proteins, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables to ensure you are both nourished and satisfied before being tempted. If going to a party, limit yourself to one small plate of treats. Going into one of these situations hungry makes it more likely you will overeat. For those with kids, don’t forget to send healthy snack options (such as Clementines decorated like Jack-o-Lanterns) during the Halloween season in lunch boxes and to class parties so that kids also have the healthy options too!
  3. Make time for activity. As the weather starts to get cooler and the leaves start to change, don’t forget to continue to find ways to stay active. Fall, especially Halloween, is a great time to get the whole family involved in physical activity. Take a walk to look at all the neighborhood Halloween decorations, knock out the last of the fall yard work, check out a local corn maze, or take a walk in a local park to look at all of the changing leaves.
  4. Consider “Buying Out” Your Kids Children’s Candy. Trick-or treating is a time-honored tradition, and is fun for kids and parents alike. But, oftentimes, children return with more candy than is healthy for them – or their parents! Consider “buying out” some of your children’s candy. Offer them a toy or non-food prize or activity for a pre-determined amount of their candy (and then throw that candy out or donate it – remember, keeping it in the house is too tempting). With the remaining candy, don’t allow free access, allow your children to choose 1 or 2 pieces per day for the week following Halloween – then toss whatever is left.
  5. Don’t completely deprive yourself. Attempting to go the whole Halloween season without enjoying a single Halloween treat is setting yourself up for failure, especially if you live in a house with children. It is ok to allow yourself to indulge, but the key is to plan and be mindful. Don’t indulge every day (try to limit to less than once per week if you can), and keep your portions small (limit to 1 or 2 pieces of candy, 1 small portion of baked good, etc). In terms of what to enjoy, no one candy is better than another, so pick your favorite, and take time to really enjoy it!
ABOUT
Paige Cross, MS, RD, LN pcross@billingsclinic.org

Paige Cross, MS, RD, LN is a registered dietitian with the Billings Clinic Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism program. She is a research coordinator and cares for patients in the WeightSmart medical weight management program.

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