7 TIPS FOR A (MOSTLY) CANDY-FREE HALLOWEEN

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It’s that time of year again. When the leaves change color and pumpkins appear in the produce aisle—right along with the bags of Halloween candy. Yes, the sugar fest is here. From Halloween cookies and candy brought to the office by coworkers, to the candy you stock for trick-or-treaters—sugary fare is everywhere.

Unfortunately, if you have a sweet tooth, all that temptation can undo your healthy eating habits. If you have kids, it can undo theirs, too. Sure, it’s OK to enjoy a few Halloween treats. But it’s important to remember that sugary treats are high in calories and low in nutrients. Too much sugar can also lead to weight gain, high blood sugar, and tooth decay.

Does that mean you and your family have to skip Halloween? Heck no! With a little planning, you can still enjoy this fun and festive time, while keeping everyone’s candy consumption in check.

Here are 7 strategies you might want to try:

  1. Shop for candy at the last minute. Stocking up on candy days before Halloween puts sugary temptation within arm’s reach—right in your kitchen cupboard. Why torture yourself? If you plan to pass out candy, wait until Halloween to buy it, and toss out any leftovers the next day.
  2. Try candy-free options. Think of some healthier options to offer trick-or-treaters. Some good choices are:
  • Sugar-free gum or hard candy.
  • Mini boxes of raisins.
  • Single serving packets of microwave popcorn.
  • Snack-size packages of dried nuts and fruit, baked pretzels, or animal crackers.
  • Coins, glow sticks, bubbles, or play dough.
  1. Make sure your kids are well fed. Don’t send your kids out trick-or-treating on empty tummies. Feed them a balanced meal beforehand. If they’re well fed, they may be less likely to feast on candy.
  2. Resist candy cravings with regular meals. Don’t skip meals during Halloween time. Instead, plan balanced and nutritious meals to keep you and your kids fueled throughout the day. You may feel less tempted to reach for a quick sugar fix when your body has the nutrients and energy it needs.
  3. Keep healthy snacks on hand. Candy cravings may still happen. But when your sweet tooth goes on red alert, you can satisfy it with something less sugar laden. Try high-fiber snacks that can help you feel full for longer, like:
  • Dried fruit and nuts.
  • Low-fat yogurt topped with granola and fresh blueberries.
  • Apple slices with a smear of peanut butter and a sprinkling of cinnamon.
  1. Sleep well. It may be harder to resist candy cravings when you’re low on sleep. Research backs this up. One study found sleepy subjects were more likely to crave high-calorie junk food. And brain scans in the same study showed the control centers of the brain were less active in sleep-starved subjects.
  2. Stick to your workout routine. Exercise may actually reduce your appetite. That, in turn, may make it easier to resist candy cravings. Both aerobic and resistance training can cause short-term changes in your gut hormones that may suppress hunger for 1 to 2 hours after a workout.

So, put these strategies in place, dust off your Halloween costume, and get your ghoul on. Halloween festivities can still be a blast without wreaking your healthy eating habits!