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8 Tips for Surviving the Spookiest of Holidays

Did you know you’d have to run a full mile to burn off a SINGLE Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup?How many miles would it take to burn off an entire bag of Halloween candy? Trust me… you don’t want to do the math..

Halloween is a great time to socialize, act like a kid again, and enjoy some much needed sweet treats. But, it can also wreak havoc on a healthy lifestyle, not to mention throw a wrench in the plans of health-conscious parents everywhere. How are we to explain the concept of ‘moderation’ to a five year old who’s just accrued 12 lbs of candy?! Here are some tips to navigating this spooky time:

  • Eating before Trick-Or Treating. Hitting the streets with a hungry belly will mean lots of snacking throughout the night. Have a regular dinner with your family before trick-or-treating. Protein (think chicken, fish, beans) and fiber (veggies and whole grains) are especially satiating and will hold you over until that last doorbell rings.
  • It’s not ALL about candy. Costumes, contests, games and music are all festive ways to get into the spirit. So before your next Tootsie Pop, check out Philly’s greatest Halloween events that have nothing to do with candy.
  • Portion control. Ever heard of eating off of a smaller plate to reduce portion size at dinner? Use this same trick for trick-or-treating. Swap out that XL pillowcase (which seems bottomless) for a smaller plastic bag. A full small bag is still less candy than a partially full pillowcase.
  • Don’t plan ahead. Stocking up on Halloween candy weeks in advance is never a good idea. Chances are you’ll go through that stash and have to go buy more anyway. Instead of having that temptation in the house, buy your treats just a day in advance.
  • Set some rules. Figure out what works best for your family, but here are some ideas…
    • Only take one piece of candy per house
    • Have X amount of candy on Halloween night, then amount each day after. (i.e. as much as you want that night, and one piece a day after that)
  • Smart Storage. Out of sight, out of mind. Try storing the excess candy in the freezer, or in opaque jars or containers. If it’s out in easy to access bowls or clear jars, it will be a constant source of temptation.
  • Throw it out. Sometimes enough is enough. What’s that? Food waste? I hear you. But isn’t it a ‘waste’ of calories to fill your family on empty, sugary calories anyway?
  • Be mindful. Even the most health-conscious family should indulge in their favorite sweets every now and then. When Halloween comes around, enjoy your candy mindfully. Eating mindfully means focusing and enjoying your food. Turn off the TV/phone/game, eat slowly, and focus on the smells, textures, and tastes of your favorite treat.

So, instead of letting Halloween derail your regular healthy habits, take this time to teach your kids a valuable lesson about moderation, balance and mindful eating. And then after they go to bed… dig into the stash for a little treat of your own.