It’s about the time a year again! The time when brightly colored, individually wrapped candies start showing up everywhere you look. Your kids are bringing candy home left and right, there are bowls haunting the breakroom at work, and you can’t step foot in any store without variety bags of all your favorite goodies taunting you from the moment you step through those automatic doors.
Halloween is like a prelude to the most intense food holidays of the year. Nothing like kicking off pre-holiday season with an onslaught of candy, right? It can easily wreak havoc on anyone’s diet if they’re not careful.
But, fear not! We’ve curated a list of Do’s and Don’ts for this Halloween season that’ll help you enjoy your favorite treats, without ruining your progress towards your goals!
Do: Set rules that work for you.
Consider what you’ve tried in the past that hasn’t worked and write it down. That way, you can clearly see what not to do again. There is no singular candy rule that works for everyone. If one candy per day sends you spiraling into a candy binge, try giving yourself a maximum number of candies you’re allowed each week, put them into a small baggie and once the baggie is empty, there’s no more candy until the start of a new week.
Get creative! Make rules that work for you and stick to them.
Don’t: Choose a candy simply because it has less sugar or fat than another.
Remember, you’re not eating candy because of its health benefits. Choosing the gummy bears because they don’t have fat, vs. the chocolate that does, is meaningless. Extra calories, be it from sugar, fat or protein, will turn into fat regardless. So, eat the candy you actually want so you’re satisfied the first time.
Do: Wait until the last minute to buy candy.
How often are you encouraged to wait until the last minute to do anything? But that’s exactly what we’re telling you to do! The longer you have candy lying around your house, the harder it is to curb your cravings to eat it. If you’re buying bags of candy to hand out to the neighborhood kids, wait until the day before trick-or-treating to buy it. Less time in your house, means less opportunities to eat it!
Don’t: Eat candy mindlessly.
It’s easy to be watching TV and find yourself munching away without thinking about it. Before you know it, your show has ended and you’re staring at a small mountain of candy wrappers and barely remember what they tasted like.
If you do indulge in halloween candy, do it with purpose. Pay attention to your treat. Pay attention to the flavor and texture. Close your eyes and savor it. When it’s gone, don’t rush to open another. Set a timer and wait 1-3 minutes before opening another one. When you’re paying attention to what you’re eating, you’re less likely to over indulge.
Do: Store the candy in an inconvenient location.
If the candy is burdensome to get to, you’ll have to make more of an effort to eat it. The more effort you put in, the more likely you’ll be to really enjoy your treat, rather than binging.
Try storing it in an obscenely tight jar or in the highest place you can think of. If it requires a step stool to reach, great! The more inconvenient the better. Consider putting the candy in a sealed bag and putting it somewhere in the garage if you have one. It’s getting colder outside, which means you’re not going to be too keen to go out there in your PJs to grab some late night candies.
Don’t: Eat candy when you’re hungry.
Candy is a treat, not a meal substitute. If you indulge while you’re hungry, you’re going to wind up eating far more than you would’ve otherwise.
Do: Leave the candy wrappers in front of you.
If you can see how many you’ve eaten, you’ll be less likely to keep eating beyond your allotted amount. So, as you eat those candies, keep the wrappers somewhere you can see them until you’re done.
Don’t: Save up calories so you can indulge.
It’s imperative you follow a normal, healthy day of eating during this time of year.
Keep up with your normal meal routine. Don’t try to “save up” calories in order to indulge more later. Like we mentioned earlier, eating candy when you’re hungry is only going to result in overeating. Don’t deprive your body of nutrients from other, healthier foods in an attempt to stay within a specific amount of calories for the day.
Do: Give the candy a deadline.
Plan on having all candy out of the house by a specific date. Set a notification in your calendar. Whatever candy is left by that date, gets thrown out. This isn’t a cue to challenge yourself to eat every last morsel before that date. It’s simply a tactic to put a time limit on the candy making its home in your cabinet.
If you can’t stomach the idea of throwing the candy away, put whatever is left in a ziplock bag and bury it in your freezer. When you find yourself having a fit for a sweet down the road, you can take one or two out to enjoy.
Don’t: Eat candy you don’t love
You know how kids get home from trick-or-treating and start sorting their candy? They usually have a love pile, a worthy-to-trade pile and a gross-I’m-throwing-this-away pile.
Consider what candies would be in your love pile. Let those be the only candies you eat this Halloween season. If it would qualify for your so-so or worthy-to-trade pile, say “No thanks!” Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean you have to eat it. If you’re craving a treat, consider what would actually satiate your craving and wait until you can have one of those.
Halloween doesn’t need to wreck your routine. As you can see here, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this time of year without letting it derail your progress.