I love candy as much as the next person, but I don’t love how it makes me feel if I eat too much. I also know what a slippery slope eating candy can be, increasing sugar cravings, taking the place of healthy foods your body needs and contributing to eating too many calories. So, instead of going into this holiday season with blinders on and flying by the seat of your pants, how about if you make a plan and enjoy yourself without letting all of your healthy intentions slide.
First of all, lets start off with some interesting statistics to show you why you need to have a plan. Americans are estimated to spend $2.4 billion on Halloween candy in 2017, according to the National Retail Federation.
That is 24 billion fun size candies (average 10 cents a piece). So, this explains how kids have 11,000 calories worth of candy in their bags after trick or treating, and how many people end up eating 3500-7000 calories from candy on Halloween.
I am not saying to not eat candy at all, or to not hand out candy. I hand out candy every year and try to teach my kids to enjoy the holiday in moderation. You just need to have a plan and have a plan for your kids. Here are my tips for making this Halloween fun and healthy:
1. If you buy your candy ahead of time, leave the bags unopened and out of sight until Halloween (a great place is at the top of a closet that you don’t use very much).
2. Buy mostly candy that is not your favorite so you don’t have bags of candy that you love calling your name.
3. Have a healthy meal and snacks on Halloween. Get together with neighbors or just with your family and have a meal with protein and some veggies to help you not be so hungry. Make sure your kids get some protein and veggies as well.
4. Limit candy to 5 pieces of your choice (same goes for kids-they have to learn how to enjoy treats without going overboard). Then, go through it and keep your favorites.
5. Spread the candy out each week or day (1 piece a day is ok if you can do that) or get rid of it if it is too much
Remember, having some halloween candy in moderation is not going to make or break your healthy lifestyle.
Participate if you want to, enjoy without guilt, and get right back on track.
-Cassie Dimmick, MS, RD, CSSD