Have Your Treat and Eat it Too: Five Tips for Avoiding the Unhealthy Tricks of Halloween Treats
Has Halloween turned into a night of mad candy consumption or permission to stockpile your favorite sugary, creamy, crunchy, chocolate treats? This can derail your weight loss efforts and add stress to the picture.
In our practice we work with children and adults who see Halloween as a permission slip for out-of-control candy binges and buying of treats. It also causes stress amongst family members who try to eat healthy. Families with allergies, gluten sensitivity, diabetes and overweight concerns have more challenges. Indeed a day for candy hunting and eating treats laden with sugars, trans-fats, and food additives poses health risk to our blood sugar levels, mood and energy levels. You can have your treat and eat it too!
The Park Avenue Nutrition team came up with 5 tips for avoiding the unhealthy tricks of Halloween treats so you may have just a little bit of sweet and enjoy the holiday:
1. Buy your candy the day before Halloween. We see families who aim to eat healthy be sabotaged by the plethora of candy available in the stores for weeks before and weeks after Halloween day. Limit the run in time for treating yourself.
2. Keep cool headed Special occasions can present teaching moments but going overboard by restricting all candy from your child (or yourself) without an alternative can backfire.
3. Have a nutritious dinner before trick or treating. This will prevent hunger and make it easier to have 50-100 calories worth of your treat of choice.
4. Have a party as an alternative to trick or treating. Instead of collecting a surplus of candy your children can do Halloween activities with friends. Have an assortment of orange and black foods such tangerine salad, squash soup sprinkled with black sesame seeds, salmon with arame seaweed salad or black bean soup. Invite the children’s parents over because adults should have fun too!
Purchase mini-sized candy bars of 50 calories or less per serving. Read the outside label for nutrition information as the mini’s have no label. Aim to avoid processed sugars and read labels! If the first ingredient of a candy is sugar, then it means that sugar is the main ingredient. Don’t be fooled by alternative names of sugar such as corn syrup, cane juice, galactose, glucose, maltose, fructose, dextrose and look for more natural sources such as pureed fruit, fruit juice, honey or molasses. If sugar is listed in the first 3 ingredients, consider the choice a sugar load. Avoid trans fats and artificial coloring and additives. You should be familiar with the ingredients.
5. Control Candy Binges. Keep the trouble maker out of the house (or your handbag)! If you know you will be led by the temptation of left over candies, just give them all away.
Restrain yourself from buying large quantities of candy and having leftovers after. We know about the temptation to eat the extra candy, so rid your house of it.
Limit the number of places your children trick or treat and thus the amount of candy they collect. Limit the night to ten to fifteen homes/apartments.
At the end of the night go through your children’s candy bag with them. Discuss the amount of candy they can keep and give the rest away to a food pantry (you’ll save your kid and yourself from future candy nibbling). Mini sizes are the best candies to keep because each one has 50 to 80 calories. Limit your child to having up to three per day.
Allergy/Gluten Free Options: Popped corn or popping Sorghum (Min-Pops) in single serving bags are great options. Organic dried fruits are as well.
A note on Diabetic Options: If you choose sugar free alternatives keep in mind that they can cause digestive problems as mannitol, xylitol and sorbitol are laxatives.
We want you to have fun on Halloween without being a candy monster. For other suggestions for conquering candy cravings, information gluten-free candy, or diabetic candy make an appointment with us at Park Avenue Nutrition.