By Kate Horney
Looking for healthy Halloween treats?
The scariest part of Halloween isn’t the ghouls, ghosts and goblins. It’s the ever abundant candy stash and the candy coma (and skinny jeans disaster) that undoubtedly follows.
If you’re a chocolate lover like me, the Halloween treats on every aisle can be a big problem when it comes to maintaining a reasonable physique.
Simply cutting out treats all together is just not practical.
So amidst all of this chocolate and candy, it’s time for an intervention.
It’s time we mapped out our Trick-or-Treat Survival Guide…
But before I share my secret weapon in the war against sugar, let me make one thing clear: I’m all about living a healthy, happy and BALANCED life.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…
There is nothing wrong with treating yourself and your family on Halloween. Or any special day for that matter!
It’s when you begin to indulge on a regular basis, that it becomes less of a treat and more of a habit…and THAT is the issue.
But for one night of tricks (and treats) here are a few ways to do the least amount of damage possible.
8 Tips to Avoid the Halloween Candy Hangover:
- Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark – If you’re craving chocolate, then the darker, the better. Dark chocolate has less sugar, is dairy-free, and is rich in antioxidants that have been shown to reduce blood pressure and decrease your risk of heart disease. BONUS: cocoa is a craving killer and a few bites of the real stuff will help you eat less in the long run!
- Fill Up (on Fiber & Protein) First – If you plan on indulging in a few Halloween treats this, don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll “cancel them out” by eating less earlier in the day. Instead, minimize the fat storing damage by doing the opposite…drink lots of water, tea, and unsweetened cocoa on Trick-or-Treat night, and make sure you fill up by eating foods heavy in water and fiber (celery, cucumbers, fiber supplements, green/red peppers, etc) as well as lean protein to keep blood sugar stable and to balance hunger and cravings as much as possible. Start with egg whites for breakfast, a salad with chicken breast on top for lunch, and plenty of grab & go veggie options throughout your day.
- Divide and Conquer – Make sure you check the nutrition information before you indulge…most candy’s nutrition info is based on more than one mini-sized bag. For example, one serving of peanut M&Ms contains 180 calories and 9 grams of fat, and one serving of Skittles contains 160 calories and 1.5 grams of fat. But, these numbers are based on TWO bags. Read the label and know how much you are consuming, and if needed, divide your bags into serving sizes to help with portion control.
- Speaking of Portion Control – One trick to keep from going overboard on bite size goodies: Choose hard candies, which you can’t possibly polish off as quickly as a bag of sour gummy candies. Sugar is sugar, but in many cases you’ll eat less if it takes you longer to eat.
- Make it at Home – Instead of inhaling a huge amount of the cheapo treats (candy corn, anyone?) this Halloween, consider your worth, and treat yourself, and your family to a healthy version of your favorite dessert instead (homemade Reese’s Cups are my favorite). You’ll still satisfy your sweet tooth, but without the guilt and shame of finishing off a jumbo sized bag of tootsie rolls all by your lonesome. Been there, done that. It is no fun at all.
- Go Nuts – If you do go for store-bought chocolate, go ahead and go nuts!
Chocolate that contains nuts may be one of your best bets, because the nuts contain a variety of nutrients and fats that help you feel fuller, longer. Think Peanut M&M’s over regular M&M’s, etc.
- Say No to White Chocolate – Believe it or not, white chocolate is your least healthy option when it comes to Halloween candy. Why? First, white chocolate doesn’t actually contain any cocoa–only cocoa butter–so it does basically nothing for cravings. Secondly, white chocolate is packed with extra sugar and added fat from the extra milk products used to make it white. If you’re going to go for chocolate, go for the dark stuff!
- Step Away from the “King Size” – I know, I know, the “King Size” candy bars make you the cool house. But when it comes to Trick-or-Treat survival, go for the smaller portion sizes instead of big bars, because even if you tell yourself that you’re only going to eat half, you will inevitably finish the whole thing (been there, done that too!)
- Sweat Before Your Sweets – Exercise 1 hour before you indulge in your Trick-or-Treat treat. Then plan to take a slow, leisurely walk when it’s all said and done (this gets you OUT of the house and AWAY from the candy!). Exercising prior to a higher calorie, higher sugar meal is a good idea as some of the calories can go to building muscle rather than simply just storing fat.
Note: Halloween Marks the Beginning of Holiday Temptation
The Holiday season is the hardest time of year to keep that perfect body and healthy lifestyle.
We are constantly surrounded by delicious treats and huge feasts. Look at Halloween as your first challenge that kicks off the holiday season.
Use Halloween as a gauge to judge where your pitfalls may be and start thinking of strategies to change your approach.
If you need support & accountability, we’re prepared to help you FIGHT THE FEASTING SEASON! (We’re all in this together!)
Join us in the BeyondFit Life Club for all you need to stay on track through the holidays!