Halloween is a tempting time of the year with candy around the house, office, and school. Halloween is that sweet time of year when children can collect and eat as much candy as they want. Based on the nutrition labels on popular candies, the average child accumulates 3,500 to 7,000 calories worth of treats on Halloween night. Still, the holiday shouldn’t be all spooks and no fun. If your children generally eat well all year long, then there is nothing wrong with letting them eat candy on Halloween night and a few mini pieces afterwards. The key, of course, is moderation. My tips will help you navigate the ghoulish season with confidence — from treat shopping to dealing with candy leftovers.
- Make Your Own Halloween Treats: A Halloween party is going to be full of tempting treats. Bring your own dish that you know you can healthfully enjoy. Be sure to bake shortly before the party rather than in advance so the dish won’t tempt you for days. Divvy up any leftovers right at the party — don’t plan to take any home with you.
- Don’t let your kids go trick or treating on an empty stomach: Make sure kids eat a healthy balanced meal before they go trick or treating, this way they are not tempted to eat candy all along the way. Provide them with a nutritious meal that includes fiber, protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grain and dairy.
- Hand out non-sugary foods and toys: One study found that when children were given the choice between candy or a small toy during trick or treating, most of them chose to go for the small toy. This shows that children would love to receive the toy instead. How about trying:
- mini boxes of raisins,
- clementine oranges painted like Jack-O-Lanterns,
- 100% juice juice-boxes,
- snack sized pretzels,
- pre-packaged trail mixes,
- pre-packaged dried fruits,
- tooth brushes,
- plastic spiders, pencils, erasers
- Make healthy treats and pack them in cool Halloween themed wrappers: Sometimes it’s all in the packaging that makes kids intrigued. Healthy snacks such as yogurt, pretzels or any other healthy snack can be presented in a spooky way.
- Keep candy consumption to a minimum: Limit the number of houses you plan to visit that day and be sure to use a smaller candy collecting bag. Tell them they can have candy once they get home. Once you get home allow only a certain amount that day.
- Give it away: Also, once they get home, ask them to make two piles of candy: one that they will keep and eat only a certain amount and the other is to give away for donation.
- Buy Candy Late Having tempting candy around can be a big challenge. There’s no logical reason to purchase candy in advance of trick-or-treat night .Resist the urge to buy a bag of Skittles a month before the big night. By only storing the goodies for 24 hours, you can save yourself a lot of temptation. Also, you can usually find big discounts on candy sold that late.
- Buy Candy You Don’t like Keep cravings at bay by purchasing treats that won’t interest you. Select trick-or-treat candy that you don’t personally enjoy. Then you won’t be tempted to eat it. Not a coconut fan? Buy coconut-filled chocolate candy for your trick-or-treaters. Or maybe nut-filled treats don’t tempt you — Snickers or peanut M&Ms may be a good solution for your candy dish.
- Store Halloween Treats Out of Sight: We’re much more likely to dip into food, regardless of whether we’re hungry, when it’s within view and in 2 yards’ reach. So, store treats in drawers, behind doors, on high shelves, or in out-of-the-way pantries. Better yet, resist the temptation to open the bag. Once it’s open, it’s too easy to slip in for a quick bite.
- Enjoy Parties for the Atmosphere, Not the Food: Attend Halloween parties for the fun and friends, not the food. Note: Parties are full of fun distractions, including fun decor, making it a challenge to fully enjoy food and drink. Why waste allotted indulgences then? Have a healthy snack before you go so you arrive sated. Plan ahead what you’ll allow for food and drink, then stick to your plan. Choose a small plate, allow yourself one trip to the spread, and sit and savor your food. Position yourself away from food during the Halloween party.
- Handle Halloween Temptation at the Workplace : It’s really, really difficult to pass up treats when someone brings them to the morning staff meeting and plops them on the table .If you just can’t resist, sample one small goodie or even just a bite-sized piece. Once everyone’s had their turn at the offering, say, ‘These look so good!’ and move them to a side table where anyone wanting more will have to be deliberate about it or wait until the meeting’s dismissed. Stock the communal treat dish yourself. Stock the dish with treats you don’t like so you won’t even be tempted or fill it with healthier choices, such as plain nuts.
Three nutritious meals with no more than four hours between them will keep you sated. Satisfied, with your blood sugar in check, the sight and smells of Halloween temptations — be they waving from the grocery aisle, your candy-stocked cupboard, or a friend’s party — are less intense. Most of us do better with healthy snacks between meals, so be sure to include them in your eating plan. Planning is the key to keeping your overall daily intake of calories, fat, sodium, and cholesterol on track. Another tip: Stay hydrated, because thirst often masquerades as hunger. You may be tempted to eat a Halloween treat when you’re really just thirsty.
What are some things you do to keep candy consumption under control?