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3 Ways to Enjoy Halloween Candy (and not overdo it) - Dietetic Directions - Dietitian and Nutritionist in Kitchener/Waterloo
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3 Ways to Enjoy Halloween Candy (and not overdo it)

3 Ways to Enjoy Halloween Candy (and not overdo it)

Are you able to enjoy Halloween candy without over-doing it?  Did you know that how we approach Halloween treats is how we will approach other food temptations?  This topic is important since every holiday (ie. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Easter) has food temptations. The good news is that we do not have to ban treats and we can even enjoy them!

 

Three Simple Ways to Enjoy your Treats (but not overdo it)! 

 

  1. Stock up on Healthy Foods!

It is key to stock up with vitamin-rich foods like whole grains, proteins, fruits and veggies and have them easily accessible in the kitchen.  You will also want to invest time in making healthy, delicious balanced meals.  This difference in having healthy foods available and an enticing dinner will enable you (and your little trick-or-treaters) to satisfy their hunger and then enjoy treats secondarily.  One of my clients was surprised to find that she was always tempted by Kit Kat bars because she did not have a kitchen stocked with other healthy, nourishing items to satisfy her hunger.

In my private practice, I find that it is common for people to restrict carbohydrates in hopes of losing weight (read my blog here why this is a bad idea).  However, this only serves to sabotage our efforts when sweet cravings inevitably increase!  Therefore, to prevent uncontrollable candy or chip cravings, always eat a well- balanced dinner with carbohydrates, protein and lots of veggies to nourish your body. For meal ideas, check out my recipe blog with meal ideas such as Dijon Garlic Salmon, Garlic & Rosemary Roasted Red Skinned Potatoes and Spicy Vegetarian Chili.

 

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  1. You See it. You Eat it:

Where do you keep your Halloween candy?  Is it in a large bowl on your kitchen counter?  If it’s tucked in your pantry, do you need a stool to reach it?  Is the candy stored in a container that is see-through or in a coloured container?  Most do not realize that where they store their candy has a crucial impact on how much they eat and how tempted they feel. Brian Wansink, Cornell researcher and Slim by Design author said, “In sight, in stomach.”   Wansink found that when candy dishes were moved from on the desks of administrative assistants to inside their desks, the average person ate 74 fewer calories every day than she would otherwise – equivalent to not gaining about a five or six pounds over the next year. Therefore, remember that the tasty (high sugar, high fat) food that is visible is what you will over-eat the most.

When it comes to storing your candy, do two things: make it less convenient and put it out-of-sight.  Research supports storing treats in a container that is not see-through and having a couple obstacles in place to get to it (less convenient).  For example, one of my clients started storing chips in her basement in a blue bin that had textbooks on top of it.  If she wanted a treat, she had to choose her portion in a bowl and go downstairs and remove the books and open the bin to grab a treat.  Not surprisingly, she found herself much less tempted by these treats and ate them less frequently!

 

Pro-tip: don't make tasty (high sugar, high fat) food visible to reduce over-eating! Click To Tweet

 

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  1. Ditch the “Deprivation” Mind Set:

Let’s make something very clear.  You can enjoy treats!  To create a healthy, long-term lifestyle and positive relationship with food, we need to allow ourselves leeway!  Focus on maintaining a healthy diet 80 percent of the time and 20 percent of the time you can give yourself extra flexibility.  You have dietitian approval to celebrate with your loved ones and enjoy! Drop the negative labels such as, “I was so bad I ate chocolate last night”.  This guilt does two things: makes us feel rotten and it makes us want to eat more!

Additionally, to really enjoy your treats, you will need to slow down!  Instead of scarfing candies because you feel guilty eating them, why not take your time and savour the experience?  Bringing mindfulness to your eating means doing one thing at a time (eating), and becoming aware of the tastes and textures.

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When enjoying a treat ask yourself three questions:  

  1. What does it feel like?
  2. What does it smell like?
  3. What does it taste like?

 

This can also be an excellent opportunity to teach your child mindfulness while eating.  This teaches us that we do not to eat just because it is in front of us but rather to savour and enjoy.  Interestingly, a client of mine found her sweet addiction subsided tremendously when she took away the “bad” label and started allowing herself to enjoy and savour treats whenever she wanted them.

 

Bottom Line:

This Halloween, enjoy your treats and follow the three simple tips to avoid overdoing it.  Be sure to stock your kitchen with healthy items, have a balanced meal before enjoying your treat, store candy out of sight and be mindful to savour the tastes!  No need to vilifying candy or other foods.  Let’s enjoy it as a part of long-term lifestyle of enjoyment without restriction and labels.

  • Lauren Bauman

    Good, practical advice on how to fit treats into a healthy lifestyle, not just for Halloween, but all-year-round. I like to cut my chocolate into small pieces and enjoy a few at a time whenever I have a craving, guilt-free!

  • Andrea D’Ambrosio, RD

    Thanks for reading and sharing your strategies, Lauren! I am glad you can enjoy your treats, guilt-free and when desired. Happy Halloween!

  • Marilyn

    Love this! Very helpful suggestions on how to enjoy treats without overdoing it and feeling gulity about it. I will definitely be using these tricks.

  • Andrea D’Ambrosio, RD

    Thanks Mike and Marilyn for reading and commenting! Glad you enjoyed the article and found it practical 🙂

  • Julia

    I never realized that keeping my Halloween treats in a glass jar might make me even more likely to reach for them! I also agree that giving permission to treat ourselves (literally) is so important, nobody wants those feelings of guilt. All in moderation! Thanks for the great seasonal post 🙂

  • Sally

    Yes, out of sight, out of mind. Your message is clear and simple. I find it best to purchase Halloween candy just a day or two before so it isn’t sitting around the house to tempt me.

  • Andrea D’Ambrosio, RD

    Awesome! Glad you enjoyed the read Sally and Julia! Sight is a powerful influencer on food choice.