No-Deprivation Halloween Diet Tips
Whether you’re handing out the treats or will have to deal with the pillowcases full of goodies your kids bring home (or both!) Halloween can cause quite the candy conundrum. But you and your kids don’t have to miss out on the fun to avoid turning into Augustus Gloop. Follow Gladwyne-based dietician and family nutritionist, Emma Fogt‘s tips for a happy, healthy Halloween.
1. THINK OUTSIDE THE WRAPPER
You’ll already have to deal with the loot the kids bring home, so do yourself a favor and opt for calorie-free or healthier treats. “This year, instead of handing out tons of candy, opt for more stickers, mini pumpkins, mini toys and dollar-store gifts like fake tattoos, stick on gems, crayons, pencils, erasers or sticky notes,” suggests Fogt. “Or passing out more nutritious foods such as individually wrapped Fig Newtons, dried fruits, pretzels , baked chips or popcorn.”
2. EAT BEFORE TRICK-OR-TREATING
“Make sure to feed the children and yourself before trick-or-treating, even if it is early,” says Fogt. “I guarantee your kids—and you— will eat less candy on a fuller stomach.”
3. BUDGET THE CANDY
The amount of candy kids collect in one night goes far beyond the USDA’s advice of having approximately 250 calories of discretionary calories per day. “Discretionary calories are those calories that contain added fats and sugars,” says Fogt. “It is so easy to overspend these discretionary calories on a normal day, but it’s especially difficult at Halloween time.” So, spread them out. If you really love Reese’s, figure out how many you can have in a day, enjoy them, and then opt for nutrition-packed whole foods for the rest of the day.”
4. EAT THE CANDY AFTER DINNER, NOT IN BETWEEN MEALS
“Have candy only after dinner, not as a snack or when you are hungry,” says Fogt. “If you start to eat candy on an empty stomach, you will fill up on these non-nutritive calories.” Instead, keep fresh fruits on the table. “If you are truly hungry, an apple will sound just as good as a candy bar,” says Fogt.
5. HAVE A HOUSE CANDY RULE!
“As the parent, you are responsible not only for what and where your kids eat, but when,” says Fogt, who recommends having kids pick any two pieces of candy after dinner and stashing the rest during the day. “After some time, the ‘best’ candy is gone and you can chuck the rest. The younger your children, the more control you have over their food choices, timing of meals and when they eat.”
6. PUT CANDY AWAY
Leaving candy out in view is a fast-tack to a sugar fest. “Brian Wansink, a Cornell researcher and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think says that we eat more of visible foods because it causes us to think about it more, and every time you see the candy bowl you have to decide whether … you want a piece of candy or not. “Don’t get sucked into the ‘see food diet’ mentality that makes you want to eat the candy simply because you see it and not because you are hungry.”
7. RIDE THE SWEET CRAVE WAVE
When you experience a sweet craving it may be that you are actually hungry for real food. “Ride the crave wave for a few minutes and ask yourself if you really want candy right now or real food,” says Fogt. “Take a break and get up. Go outside or eat some fresh fruit and see if the sweet carving subsides.”
7. GIVE SOME AWAY
“You can also choose to get the candy out of the house,” says Fogt. “Donate the candy to a shelter or homeless facility, a food bank or a senior center that would appreciate it.”
8. GET THE REAL GOODIES
Keeping cheap candy you don’t like in the house—if you aren’t a fan of Peppermint Patties, for instance, handing them out will be a lot easier than handing out your favorite. “But why not get a little of your own yummy, high-quality dark chocolate?” suggest Fogt. “Eating a good piece of dark chocolate slowly is rich, sweet and satisfying, and it also provides antioxidants.”