Halloween really snuck up on me this year – I guess that’s what happens when you plan a mid-October wedding 🙂
I wanted to write a Halloween-themed blog post but wasn’t sure where to go with it. A lot of “healthy Halloween” articles out there are full of tips like “eat fruit instead of candy” and “limit yourself to only 1 piece.” But who really feels satisfied with replacing their candy craving with a piece of fruit, and who ONLY eats 1 piece at a time?! Since you’ve probably seen and tried these kinds of tips time & time again, I thought I’d bring some tips to the table with a more balanced approach. Whether you’re a Halloween fanatic yourself or just celebrating with your kiddos, here are my favorite REALISTIC hacks for a Healthy Halloween.
Healthy Halloween Hacks
Get moving – Despite all the sugar that is surrounding you on Halloween, it’s still a great time to get moving especially if you have kids that you’re taking trick-or-treating. If possible, make sure to walk (instead of drive) to your trick or treating destinations. If you have to drive, get a walk in earlier in the day…it’s a perfect way to enjoy the fall weather. Movement is important EVERY day, but its significance on Halloween is its ability to keep sugar cravings at bay. It will also make your kids more tired so that they don’t stay up eating candy all night!
Stop calling candy “bad.” Yes, there are foods that are nutritionally superior to candy. But it’s candy – it doesn’t have morality. You’re not good or bad for eating it. You will probably hear people say “ugh, candy is SO bad” around Halloween time. Did you know that thinking of foods as bad just causes us to want them more? By thinking of candy in a more positive light (try focusing on the memories you have from Halloween as a kid and the warm & fuzzy “fall feels” the candy gives you) – I promise you will be less likely to over-consume it.
Don’t go hungry. This one is important. Don’t go out trick-or-treating or to a Halloween party on an empty stomach. That’s a recipe for disaster! Make sure to eat balanced meals all day on Halloween no matter what. This will help prevent those pesky hunger pangs that make your sugar cravings go bizerk. Each meal that you eat on Halloween (and every day) should contain protein, fats, and carbs to keep you the most satisfied.
Stick with your favorites. Food (candy included) is not only meant to nourish our bodies, it’s meant to nourish our souls as well! If you’re a candy lover, one way to prevent eating it ALL at once is to only stick with eating the kinds that you love. Maybe you’re obsessed with Snickers – then only keep the Snickers on hand and toss the rest. This will allow you to really enjoy the candy that you do have, and once again helps prevent overeating and mindless eating.
Halloween random acts of kindness – I’m not into “rewarding” kids with food (especially candy) but I love this idea. Instead of letting your kids have candy whenever they want, establish some parameters. Maybe for every 5 pieces of candy that they eat, they have to carry out a random act of kindness, volunteer for a good cause, or donate some of their candy to kids who are less fortunate. Don’t promote it as punishment but rather something to celebrate (doing good deeds is always a reason to celebrate!).
Set family traditions. Instead of making Halloween all about candy, why not make it known as the day your family does something special together? Whether it be pumpkin carving, going to a corn maze or apple orchard, or getting an adrenaline rush at a haunted house. Teach your kids that it doesn’t have to be ALL about the candy (although it does play a big role :)). Giving your kids something else to look forward to on Halloween may help take their attention away from all of the candy.
Save it for dessert. You might have a lot of candy leftover after Halloween – that’s okay! I’m not going to tell you to hide it from yourself or throw it away. However, as delicious as candy can be, it is not nutritious or meant to replace a meal. If you want to avoid a sugar crash, it’s a good idea to eat a full meal before having candy. This way, you’ll get the nourishment you need and will likely be satisfied off of less candy. This strategy may even convince you to avoid the candy all-together because you won’t have the appetite for it.
Fill up on dark chocolate. If you’re a fan of dark chocolate, make sure to keep plenty on hand around Halloween. It’s a “healthier” treat option – rich in antioxidants (these help your body fight illness!) and is incredibly rich, so you’ll be more satisfied off of less chocolate.
MOVE ON if you have one too many pieces of candy on Halloween (or the entire week of Halloween for that matter). It’s one day of the year. Skip the guilt trip and know that you always have your next meal, next day, or next week to start over. Acknowledge that you ate candy, enjoyed it (hopefully), and are allowed to have candy again at any time if you crave it. Do not tell yourself that you’re never going to eat candy again – this will set you up for failure (back to thinking about candy in a negative light).
By using these tips, you’ll be well on your way to a health Halloween! Now I want to know: what is your favorite Halloween candy?! Let me know in the comments below!