We all know what a scary time Halloween can be for anyone who fears the inevitable sugar cravings and dreaded extra pounds from Halloween indulging. You will soon be surrounded by candy corn and Fun Size ® Skittles® and M&Ms – all looking colorful and appealing, designed to weaken our resistance and lure us into Candyland and the consequences of “over-treating.”
While you may think a piece of candy here and there won’t be a big deal, consider this: a Fun Size® Snickers® has 8½ grams of sugar and 80 calories! Not so fun, huh? If you sneak a few treats from your kids’ candy bag each day and a few more at night, you could easily gain a pound a week! By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, you may be noticeably heavier, more sluggish, and more addicted to sweets than ever before.
And it’s not just your waistline you should be thinking about! Excess sugar is plain and simple no good for our kids either!
Eating too much Halloween candy does not have to be inevitable this year! Here are some tricks to avoid over-treating for both you and your kids:
Eat before you start. I know kids want to begin Trick-or-Treating as soon as school lets out, but prepare a nutritious meal the day before and take 30 minutes to sit down and eat before everyone goes out. Make sure your meal includes whole grains, protein and veggies to keep kids energized and full longer. If you’re in a hurry, kids can have a “snackful dinner” – almond butter on whole grain toast; sliced carrots and apples with hummus; black beans and rice, or guacamole and low-salt tortilla chips. Make sure you eat something too! It is harder to turn down the third candy bar if you are hungry.
Leave your favorites at the store. When you buy candy to give out, buy the kind that you’d never eat if it was the last sweet on earth. For me, that would be Sour Gummi Worms®. What would it be for you? Buy just enough of the candy to cover Halloweeners for the night.
Even better….Start a new tradition. If you’re in charge of buying the candy, consider giving non-food items instead. Research shows that kids don’t think it’s lame to get a toy treat or two on Halloween. Buy glow-light bracelets, bubbles, glow-in-the-dark plastic fangs, or spider rings.
Start a new kind of trading game. My favorite part of Halloween as a kid was sitting down with my brothers and sisters to trade candy. I have started this tradition with my son. What do I trade? Stickers for Skiddles. Matchbox cars for M&Ms. Baseball cards for bags of chips. I also mix it up a bit and trade more nutritious versions of some of the sweets like dark chocolate covered nuts etc. for some of the more nutritionally offensive candy that show up in their bags. Go out and look around for some really hard to resist non-food goodies and get on the floor and start trading!
Toss it after a few days. The best – and perhaps the simplest — advice I can give is not keeping any temptation in the house. You can’t eat it if it’s not there. Don’t let one night of indulgence turn into a month of candy hording. Leftover Halloween treats will hinder any healthy eating plan’s success. Better to toss the treats and be a little wasteful than to add to your own “waist fullness.” If you really can’t toss it, give it away.
Finally allow yourself a little indulgence that night so you don’t feel too deprived. Don’t tell yourself you can’t have ANY CANDY! Instead say, “I can have some but first I am going to eat something nutritious.” or “Tonight I am going to have two of my absolute favorites and tomorrow halloween is officially over!”
Good luck! Enjoy your wonderful children…..and happy trading!