One question we get often from our clients is “how do I manage Halloween Chocolate and Candy? Trick or Treat seems to be the beginning of a season of overeating. We are quickly approaching the abundance of food-related holidays that seem to start at Halloween and continue until New Years Day (and sometimes even until Super Bowl Sunday).
How can you take positive steps to get you through the holiday season without gaining weight? Lets take things one at a time. Halloween is the first of many challenges, so lets think about how you can enjoy Halloween without starting a pattern of overeating during the holiday season. Overeating often occurs as a result of not paying close attention to the basic who, what, when, where and how of eating. In terms of Halloween, I think that the most important thing to focus on is the “how” of eating.
Trick or treat Chocolate and Candy Tips?
I want to encourage you to eat and enjoy candy during Halloween in a mindful way. I would recommend you think about your past experiences with Halloween and think about how you may benefit from the following REBEL dieting strategies:
1. How many trick-or-treaters typically come to your home?
Can you buy a smaller amount of candy so that you are not tempted with leftover candy? Also, if you have a large quantity of candy in your house, it is easy to eat more candy than you realize. Try to keep the bags of Halloween candy to a minimum.
2. How about buying Halloween chocolate that does not tempt you to overeat?
Most of us have favorite candies that make having that brand of candy too tempting! It’s okay to enjoy that candy in moderation, so I would recommend to buy that brand in smaller bags. This way you can enjoy them, but not be tempted to overeat. So, try to purchase less candy and maybe not your favorite candy to avoid over-consuming candy while passing it out to trick-or-treaters. For instance, if you LOVE halloween chocolate, how about buying non-chocolate candy?
3. How many times do people buy Halloween chocolate and candy each season?
I typically hear that people buy Halloween candy 3-4 times each year. I am amazed at how easy it is to buy Halloween candy. The stores are filled with holiday candy for weeks before Halloween. Can you purchase your candy on October 30th or even better, on Halloween day? So many times, I hear that people buy Halloween candy at least three times each season, often the candy gets eaten and needs to be repurchased closer to Halloween. Another common concern is that they will run out of candy so they buy more a few days before Halloween. What about the candy on sale the day after Halloween? Being surrounded by candy for weeks before (and after) Halloween, makes avoiding overeating candy very difficult. Do what you can to limit your exposure to so much candy to only one day. How did Halloween turn into a holiday that lasts for weeks? Try to remember that Halloween is only one day and limit your candy eating to Halloween day.
4. How to stay out of the Halloween candy and chocolate aisle?
I see tons of Halloween candy at the grocery (Giant, Safeway), at the drug stores (CVS, Walgreens, Target), and at the box stores (Sam’s Club, Walmart). During the end of summer, early autumn, do what you can to avoid the Halloween candy aisles in these stores. It is good practice to limit your shopping time in general this time of year as the Christmas season starts immediately after Halloween.
5. How can you limit your exposure to Halloween candy?
Just like above, if you are around candy all the time, it is really easy to overeat it? Where do you store candy? If you keep your candy out of sight, it will help you keep it out of your mouth. If you need to store your candy before Halloween, try to store it in an opaque container in a cabinet so it will be less tempting to sample some candy.
6. How about avoiding Halloween candy all together?
Have you thought about purchasing non-food treats like pencils, erasers, stickers, tattoos or any kind of small, kid-friendly toys? Or maybe some protein bars like KIND bars or granola bars instead of candy?
7. Back to the how of eating Halloween chocolate and candy.
How many times do you eat Halloween candy standing up? Instead of eating Halloween candy standing up while barely enjoying it, can you try this year to sit down with a small piece of candy and actually taste and enjoy the candy?
8. Candy is a huge Halloween tradition.
As mentioned before it may even last for weeks at a time. Is there a way to incorporate other traditions this Halloween season so that it is not all about the candy? What about a hayride or even a haunted hay ride, apple picking, corn mazes, or a fall hike in the crisp weather?
9. How about your leftover Halloween candy?
Check with your local dentist who may purchase left over candy to send to our troops overseas. Or you can send the candy to our soldiers directly through Halloween Candy Buyback.
10. How about your kids Halloween candy?
Can you use the same tips to help your kids manage their Halloween candy? Limit the exposure to the candy; encourage your kids to eat the candy mindfully, set limits about when the candy is eaten and the number of days Halloween is celebrated.
For more inspiration on how to eat healthfully while enjoying your favorite halloween treats, read this blog.
Wishing you a fun, safe, healthy Halloween Holiday. We are here to help you navigate through the holiday season. Contact us today to make an appointment with one of your registered dietitian nutritionists.
Rebecca Bitzer loves to empower Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) and their clients. Co-author of Welcome to the Rebelution: Seven steps to the nutrition counseling practice of your dreams and Taste the Sweet Rebellion: Rebel against dieting.