Nutritious Tricks For Your Treats
For many people the Halloween season marks the beginning of a 3 month sugar-fest that doesn’t end until the New Year’s Resolution diet begins on January 1st. With Halloween and the holiday season approaching, it’s a great time to be reminded that healthful eating is all about moderation; one or two treats per day is fine, as long as the rest of your diet is balanced with nutrient-rich foods.
Here are some tips for a healthful, happy Halloween:
Enjoy your favorite treats in small portions
When it comes to food, we often times want what we can’t have. This is one of the reasons why many diets fail-once a food is labeled “off limits” you start to crave it even more. When you restrict your favorite foods, especially during the holiday season when treats are everywhere, you are more likely to overeat later on. The average fun-sized candy bar has roughly 100 calories. As long as you are eating adequate amounts of whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean meats etc. the majority of the time, including 1-2 of your favorite fun-sized candy bars per day during the holiday season may actually prevent weight gain caused by over-indulging as a result of feeling deprived. You may find it helpful to keep the candy out of sight until you are ready to enjoy it or pre-portion single servings as soon as you get home from the store.
Hand out your not-so-favorite candy or healthier options on Halloween night
We all have our favorite candies and our not-so-favorite candies. My favorites are Reese’s peanut butter cups and Butterfinger candy bars. If either of these is within arm’s length I am more than likely going to go for it because they are so delicious; other candies aren’t quite as exciting. To eliminate temptation you may find it helpful to hand out the types of candy you have no desire to eat. You also have the option to hand out healthier treats like raisins, pretzels, popcorn or granola bars. I will warn you though…you may receive some backlash from the neighborhood kiddos for this one.
“Moderately Manage” Post-Halloween Treats
It’s important to teach children that healthful eating includes treats in moderation. In fact, restricting these “fun foods” too often early on can negatively impact a child’s relationship with food later on in life or make them feel shameful about wanting more than what is “allowed.” Encourage children to make a pile of their favorite candies when they get home on Halloween night so they can enjoy them throughout the month. You can get rid of the candy they don’t want by donating it, bringing it to work, or giving it to family and friends.
When it comes to including treats in your diet at any time throughout the year the most important thing is balance. You can incorporate your favorite candies into more healthful snacks by adding them to whole grains or pairing them with fresh fruits and protein-rich food such as nuts.
Halloween Monster Mix
This sweet and salty snack is one of many ways to add Halloween treats to healthful whole grains. You can substitute your favorite whole grain cereal (check labels to make sure there are at least 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams of sugar or fewer per serving) or omit ingredients based on preference.
185 calories; 3 grams fiber
Ingredients (brands are specified for nutrient analysis):
- 2 oz Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels (about 40 tiny twists)
- 6.5 cups Orville Redenbacher SmartPop! Popcorn
- ½ cup Blue Diamond Toasted Coconut Almonds
- 1 ½ cups Kashi Heart to Heart cereal
- ½ cup Brach’s candy corn
- Toss ingredients in a bowl and enjoy!