Halloween is almost here, which means cute costumes, silly parties, scary movie marathons, and of course, lots and LOTS of sugar. But, fret not, healthy Halloween treats are out there, and of course there are things you can do to mitigate the sugar rush. The idea of a day dedicated to indulging in sweet treats is a dream for some, but for anyone trying to stick to a sugarless and healthy diet, it can be more like a nightmare. Imagine being forced to stare at the very foods you are struggling to resist. Talk about cruel and unusual punishment. But there is good news for anyone working hard to stay on track when Halloween hits: you can enjoy tricking & treating, you just have to go into the experience armed with the right information, some useful tips and realistic goals.
The first bit of important advice: you can’t expect to completely cut sugar out of your life, and you certainly can’t expect to do it successfully during Halloween (and the impending holiday eating season). As Huff Post reports, according to JJ Virgin Fitness/Nutrition Expert, Author of NY Times Bestsellers The Virgin Diet & JJ Virgin’s Sugar Impact Diet, completely ditching sugar never works. “There are a few things going cold turkey will do for you, and losing weight isn’t one of them. Instead, you’ll be shaky, irritable, lethargic, starving, and craving sugar—not the outcome we’re after” she explains. Instead, focus on making smart choices and gradually managing your sugar intake, so that you can enjoy Halloween without ditching your diet goals. Here are 7 more tips and healthy Halloween treats ideas to help you stay in control of your health, your weight and your happiness this season.
Workout in the Morning
By getting in a great sweat session in the morning, you’ll set a healthy tone for your day so that you are more likely to make smart food decisions. In addition, you’ll feel more energized and more motivated to continue practicing healthy habits. And if all else fails and you do succumb to your sugar craving, at least you got in a good workout, so you’ll feel less guilty about your minor setback.
If you Don’t Want to Eat It, Don’t Buy It
This might seem like common sense, but many of us break this rule without realizing the damage it can do. If you don’t want to eat something, don’t keep it in your house. Why tempt your will power more than you have to? If you want to serve Halloween candy to your kids, friends or neighbors, then buy candy that you don’t love personally, so you’ll be less inclined to eat it yourself.
Sometimes we all confuse the feeling of being hungry with being thirsty, and as a result we eat foods we shouldn’t eat when all we really needed was a glass of water. As Livestrong reports, according to registered dietitian Sioned Quirke, “the same part of your brain is responsible for interpreting hunger and thirst signals.” When you think you might be hungry, or if you see a candy bar and you’re convinced you need to eat it to satisfy your rumbling stomach, try drinking a glass of water first and see if your craving subsides.
Think Outside the Candy Box
Instead of showering your kids and their friends with unhealthy treats like candy, cookies and other sweets, try serving up other special treats that can be equally exciting without the sugar overload. Offer colorful Halloween themed stickers, temporary tattoos, little toys and crayons, glow rings etc. We promise your kids will be thrilled with their gifts and you won’t be tempted to eat the excess candy in your house.
Fill up on Healthy Foods Before You Hit the Candy Trail
If you’re starving, you’ll eat the wrong foods (aka candy) when they are readily available and looking super tasty. Eat a balanced and filling meal, ideally with lots of protein and fiber, before hitting the trick or treating trail so that you don’t have to do unnecessary negotiating with your stomach every time a piece of candy passes you by.
Purge the Temptation
When the night is over, there is going to be leftover candy. Between your kids’ collection, which you’ll probably store (aka steal, hide and then be tempted to eat yourself before they notice), and the excess candy that you never even handed out to trick or treaters, your house is likely loaded with sweets that you really really want to devour. Instead of having to resist temptation, just remove it from your house and instead fill your snack cabinet with healthy choices that you’ll actually feel good about eating.
Don’t Deprive Yourself, Just be Mindful
At the end of the day, if you feel deprived then you are more likely to binge when you let your guard down. Instead of avoiding candy and sweets completely, allow yourself a little treat when you really want it. That doesn’t mean you can or should totally let yourself go and abandon all your diet principles. But if you want one bite of candy, allow yourself one bite. If your sweet tooth is screaming for attention, choose a healthy option that will satisfy your needs; eat a piece of fruit, a fruit smoothie or some yogurt-covered raisins. If you do find yourself dipping into your kids’ candy bag, save the wrappers. Yes, seriously. Keep track of what you eat; when you see the damage you’ve done you’ll be less likely to keep popping that candy in your mouth.