Are you feeling “haunted” by the sight of Halloween treats and goodies? An action plan can help you stay on-track. While it may feel like this holiday season is the start of one long feast throughout the end of the year, you can enjoy it without losing focus on your health!
During this time of year, festive and spooky treats with empty calories are more available. This can be a challenge if you’re working on weight management, but if you create a game plan right now, you can savor the start of fall and still achieve your health goals.
Halloween Health Tips
Follow Your Normal Eating Pattern.
Skipping meals will make you more likely to binge. Instead, eat meals rich with lean protein and fiber so you stay satisfied. If you’re planning for a little indulgence, get back on-track during your next meal time and stick to your normal routine so your splurge doesn’t last longer than intended.
You Can Finally Procrastinate!
You can keep treats out of sight temporarily by waiting to buy candy for trick-or-treaters until the last minute. Wait to open the bag until they start arriving at your door. If you have any leftovers you want out of the house, put it away to take to work or give it to your neighbors.
Chew Sugarless Gum
If you’re attending a Halloween party or passing out candy, try chewing sugarless gum or staying close to some raw veggies with a savory, healthy dip. Studies show that chewing gum can help relieve stress, satisfy a sweet tooth and overcome the urge to splurge. So keep it handy!
Sip on Low-calorie Beverages
Low-calorie beverages such as herbal tea or water with a flavor enhancer can keep your hands and mouth busy. You’ll also stay hydrated at the same time which is key to weight management.
Don’t Purchase Your Favorites
Everyone has a favorite Halloween candy for trick-or-treat night. If you have to buy candy, buy another kind. If it’s not worth the calories, you may not want it. Also, try to avoid eating out of the bag or container so you are less likely to eat mindlessly. If you’re going to eat some candy, portion it out after checking the food label.
Choose Healthy Ways to Eat Pumpkin
Craving pumpkin during the fall season? Buy some puree and add it to a protein shake. Make your own recipes using substitute ingredients in place of unhealthy ones. Pumpkin makes a great substitute for fats like oil and butter in baking. You can also try a pumpkin-flavored coffee brew as opposed to a specialty coffee drink filled with sugar.
Always Incorporate Movement
Get away from the desk to take a walk and make time for exercise in the crisp fall air. If you feel less stressed during the holiday season, you’re more likely to stick to your weight management goals. Use exercise as a means to boost your energy and confidence — not just a way of burning calories.
Be honest with yourself and your accountability partner. Keep a food journal to be accountable for every bite you consume. Monitor your weight even when you don’t want to, and don’t allow negative self-talk to take over. Instead, focus on building healthy habits that you can stick to well beyond the holiday season.
The biggest key to success when planning a treat is to remember that seasonal treats are just that — a treat that should be eaten in moderation. Keep your goals at the forefront of your mind and read labels to avoid too much temptation. Your health and long-term success are worth more than short-term satisfaction. Make a plan, don’t be too hard on yourself and enjoy the spirit of the season!
About the Author:
Pam Helmlinger, RD, LDN, CDE, is a registered dietitian and diabetes educator at Centennial Center for the Treatment of Obesity. She provides nutrition counseling to pre/post-op bariatric patients as well as a weight-loss program. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Harding University in 2001 and has worked with the program since 2006.