Healthy Halloween Tips

Halloween marks the unofficial start of the holiday season.  For some, it provides an excuse to indulge in less-than-healthy snack choices, like the candy that is "in the house" (30 days early) for the trick-or-treaters who may or may not empty the bowl on Halloween night.  This slippery slope can lead to poor food choices for the next three months or more.  

The holidays are a time of celebration, not an excuse to abuse yourself.  The truth is that all year long, there is always something going on:  birthdays, summer barbecues, anniversaries, family parties...it never ends, and that is one of the beautiful parts of being a human on this earth.  We get to celebrate - often with delicious food - with the people we love.  

So why does the average American gain seven to twelve pounds from Halloween to New Year's?  Let's get real about this - am I celebrating or using the holidays as an excuse to consciously harm myself?  From October to January, we tell ourselves that it's just "once a year" that we allow ourselves to indulge.  Who are we kidding??  If it really were just Thanksgiving Day that we over-ate, no one would gain seven to twelve pounds!   There's the candy dish at work, the holiday parties, the leftovers, the special recipes that come out for the season...three months is a long time to choose to abuse oneself. 

Resolve start this year's holiday season off on a different note.  See if you can adopt some of these healthy Halloween tips into your October routine this year:

1. For trick-or-treaters, try giving out Halloween stickers, pens, pencils, magnets, notepads, tattoos, mini games, scary spider rings, and other goody bag items you can find at your local party store.  The kids will get enough candy from the neighbors, and may even appreciate the novelty.

2. Don't buy candy you like to eat.  It is much easier to choose not to eat a candy that never interested you in the past.

3. Don't overbuy candy - and don't buy it too early.  You probably have a good idea of how much you need for the actual night, which you can buy a few days, or even hours, beforehand.  It's also not the end of the world if you run out.

4. Find sweetness in non-food ways.  Often we look for a sweet treat because of the sour mood we are feeling.  Pay attention to your moods, and try to add in some sweetness in ways that make you feel fulfilled.

5. On November 1, throw out whatever you do not want you and your children to consume.  Yes, throw it out - in the garbage.  Your body is not a garbage pail, and the candy you are discarding is not real food - so no guilt here either!

In my house, my son picks out 5-10 pieces of candy that he is going to keep -- the rest he leaves out for the Tooth Fairy, who brings a gift he has selected during the weeks prior.  He doesn't even miss the huge bag of (garbage) candy that she took because he is so excited about his new toy.  Go with whatever works in your family!

 

 

Jennifer Kelly