Halloween is just around the corner, and you know what that means: sweets! Between scary (and sexy!) costumes and overall good mischief, you might want to be prepared for the onslaught of chocolate bars, candy corn, and empty calories. Trinh Le, a registered dietitian with MyFitnessPal, has provided some handy advice on how have a better-for-you Halloween and avoid the scary consequences.
- Eat before you (trick or) treat: This is a good idea whether you're spending an evening trick-or-treating with your loved ones or spending a night out on the town. Fill up on a healthy, balanced meal made with veggies, lean protein, and whole grains. The protein and fiber in your meal will make you more satisfied and less likely to sneak treats from your kid's sugary stash. If you're going to a grown-up Halloween party, being full before knocking back your first drink is also a great idea!
- Tuck your candy out of plain sight: We know the pre-Halloween candy sales are scary tempting. If you've got a mighty sweet tooth, stow these goodies in the back of your pantry, and hold off on opening them till right before the trick-or-treaters get there.
- Have healthier snacks on hand: Be different! Stock up on nontraditional snacks that are healthier and more balanced. Instead of sugary candy bars, you can munch on trail mix, cheese crackers, individual fruit cups, animal crackers, and so forth.
- Bottoms up (with your water bottle): Staying well hydrated can help you control your sweet cravings. I like to take a swish of water after finishing my first candy, which gives my mouth a different taste so I'm not hunting for the next sugar fix. This also has the added benefit of rinsing down the sugar and protecting my pearly whites.
- Shower your trick-or-treaters with toys: Trick-or-treaters are bombarded with sweets this season, so break up the monotony with toys like bouncy balls, sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, glow sticks and hacky-sacks. You'll still help the kiddos celebrate Halloween with the added benefit that these toys will encourage them to be more active.
- Be picky with your sweets: Don't settle for whatever is on the table. If you're going to satisfy your sweet cravings, go for treats that'll hit the spot. Leave the ones that just don't do it (we're looking at you, candy corn!) alone. Also, remember to pick smallest (fun-size) portion because you can always go back for more if you really want to.
- Trick-or-treat? Track your treats: It's so easy to get your share of empty calories from candy bars and lollipops without even realizing it. Those mini, snack-sized bars may not seem like much, but the calories, fat, and sugar can quickly add up to a full-sized candy bar. Take a tally using pen and paper or an online calorie counter, or hold onto your candy bar wrappers.
- Let yourself celebrate! If you make healthy eating a habit, a day (or two!) of overindulgence is perfectly acceptable. Halloween happens just once a year, and you should be able to celebrate it without guilt. Give yourself a deadline for when the celebration is over, then plan to get back on track by cooking a nutritious meal or going for a run. Remember that your overall health and happiness rests on more than just a few days.