While sugar is a potent “drug,” it’s not just the cute and colorful Halloween treats that tempt us. Halloween may hold loving memories for many of us, of our own childhood costumes and candy collecting, as well as those of our children dressing up for trick-or-treating and their squeals of delight as they came home with pillowcases filled with candy. Those memories are powerful treat triggers.
But it’s not all fun and games. Sugar can weaken our immune system, increase symptoms of ADD/ADHD, and contribute to weight gain, joint pain, moodiness, and lack of energy. And the more sugar we eat, the more we want. So what can you do now to avoid “over-treating?”
Here are few healthy tips:
1. Focus on the Festivities. There is a lot to get excited about besides candy: Make creative costumes, plan a neighborhood party; build a haunted house; have a pumpkin-carving contest; spend the day decorating your yard and house.
2. Speaking of healthy treats … What if you (and/or your kids) tried making some cute, nutritious Halloween treats? Now we’re talking fun and nutritious! I’ve included one below – don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it!
3. Don’t trick-or-treat on an empty stomach. I know the kids are excited, but it’s a great idea to have a nutritious meal ready when they get home from school. If you’re in a hurry, kids can have a “snack-ful dinner” – a whole-grain pita with avocado and chopped chicken; almond butter and sliced apples on whole grain toast; veggies with different flavors of hummus.
4. What is your favorite Halloween candy? Whatever it is – leave it at the store! If you must buy candy to give out to trick-or-treaters, consider buying candy that you’d never eat if it was the last sweet on Earth! Try waiting to buy it until Halloween morning, and get just enough to give out that night.
5. You can’t eat it if it’s not there. Don’t let one night of sweet treats turn into a month of candy snacking. Toss out leftover candy the next day, and give your kids just a few days to indulge. Better to be a little wasteful by throwing out the sweets than to derail your health and weight goals (not to mention adding to tooth decay and all the other sugar symptoms).
Just because October 31st rolls around, doesn’t mean we have to indulge in daily sweet treating that we wouldn’t normally do.
It’s really about making better choices that keep YOU feeling better. Have cut-up fruits and vegetables in your fridge; fill snack bowls with almonds and walnuts (and take some to work, too!) Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and give yourself permission to break with old Halloween traditions to start your own.
Nutrition coaching can help you take control! Together, we will come up with personalized strategies for making better choices over the next few months, so you avoid the typical “season of treating” pitfalls before they even start. Halloween doesn’t have to be “scary” this year! If you would like one-on-one coaching to look and feel your best, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
RECIPE! Trick Your Treat Craving with these Chocolate Treats
1 1/2 cups walnuts
1 cup pitted dates
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup cacao powder
½ cup fresh mint
Mix all ingredients together in food processor; pulse and then blend well. The mixture should have the consistency of peanut butter. Use a melon baller to form mixture into one-inch balls and place in paper muffin cups in a mini muffin tray (so they don’t slide around). Leave the mixture as a round ball or you can press the mixture into the muffin cup (not as pretty but less fuss).
Remove the muffin cups from the tray and put them in a re-sealable storage container using wax paper in between layers. Then put the storage container in the freezer for at least an hour. Remove them when you’re ready to eat a treat!
These healthier treats are a better choice to help you crowd out your sugar cravings for Halloween candy!