How to Survive Halloween
Halloween is just around the corner and just because candy is involved, doesn’t mean that you have to over-indulge OR completely deprive yourself!
“According to research, one teaspoon of sugar can shut down a person’s immune system for up to 5 hours. Yale University says that children should get only 3 to 4 teaspoons of sugar per day and that an adult should limit intake to 5 teaspoons. This is even possible on Halloween. We all benefit from avoiding going overboard on holiday occasions.”
A TIME article revealed some pretty scary truths regarding Halloween. It stated that, “Based on the nutrition labels on popular candies, the average child accumulates 3,500 to 7,000 calories worth of treats on Halloween night, according to Donna Arnett, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham’s School of Public Health. According to a recent report, a 100-pound child who consumed all of those treats, or 7,000 calories, would have to walk for nearly 44 hours or play full-court basketball for 14.5 hours to burn those calories.”
Mindset is a key component to success when approaching ANY tempting situation.
If you tell yourself that you can’t have something…chances are…that is ALL you will be thinking about. If you completely deprive yourself, you’re more likely to lose all self control when you finally give in and have “just a taste.” At least that’s what happens with me.
Here are some tips to set you and your family up for success this Halloween.
This isn’t justification to over indulge. Instead, it might help your ward off temptation. An article on the benefits of exercise states that, “They don’t call it a “runner’s high” for nothing! Whether you’re addicted to sugar, cigarettes, or even heroin, exercise could play an important role in resisting your substance of choice. In one study, scientists found that the endorphin rush released during exercise acts on the same neural pathways as addictive substances. The result? Mice in this study opted for the treadmill over the high from an amphetamine-laced solution, suggesting that humans could do the same.”
Eat a satisfying meal!
It’s much easier to resist sugar when you’re actually satisfied. We often reach for sugar-laden foods when we’re tired as a quick “pick-me-up.” The problem is that as quickly as it lifts your energy levels, it drops them sending you back to that candy jar. Before you know it you’ve had 5 fun-sized snickers. That “fun” doesn’t seem so grand 400 calories later when you’re still hungry. Instead, fill up on protein and veggies during the day to maintain stable energy and blood sugar levels. Make sure your children have a hearty, balanced dinner with lean protein, healthy fats and plenty of veggies before trick-or-treating.
Do you have a favorite Halloween candy? If you couldn’t tell from the tip above, mine are Snickers bars. I don’t deprive myself of the snickers. Instead, I decide that it is worth having so I’m not going to waste empty calories and tons of sugar on candies that I don’t like such as Almond Joy or Kit Kat Bars. (My apologizes to those of you who like those. If that’s your thing, great, savor them…and save the Snickers for me.) Make sure that you make wise food choice throughout the day and then chose what you really enjoy. Have 1-2 pieces (ok maybe 2-3) and leave it at that. Make it WORTH IT.
Are you going to a Holiday Party? Bring some healthy options to balance out the treats. Homemade “mummy pizzas” on whole grain flat breads or English muffins. Arrange thin slices of cheese as though it were mummy cloth over low-sugar marinara sauce. Serve with baby carrots. Feel free to cut “finger nails” with a potato peeler into the carrots for a festive touch.
Minimize the blow!
Ok, it is fun to hand out candy but who said you can’t hand out treats kids will love but still have less of a sugar blow? Try these lower-sugar options:
- Low-Sugar Granola bars (KIND Dark Chocolate Cherry is a good source of protein, healthy fats, AND delicious dark chocolate. Kashi is a good brand as well!)
- Low sugar, 100% fruit snacks such as Annie’s Organic
- Trailmix individual packets (find them at Trader Joe’s or make your own!)
- Turkey jerky sticks
- Sugar-Free gum packets
- Animal Crackers
- Non-edible treats: bubbles, glow sticks, crayons, bracelets, notepads, fun erasers or pencils
Out of Sight Out of Mind!
After Halloween, sort through and throw out the stuff you don’t like. It’s not worth eating just because it’s there. Next, put the candy in a candy jar or closet so that isn’t in your line of vision whenever you walk into the kitchen. Allow yourself and/or your kiddos to enjoy 1 piece of something you truly like after eating a balanced meal and leave the rest in the jar.
I hope that you feel more empowered this Halloween. As long as you’re getting regular exercise and eating well most of the time, a little treat isn’t going to break the bank. Enjoy the other elements of Halloween such as the fun costumes, parties, and fellowship with friends.
Let the candy be a nice bonus at the end.