Don’t Let the Treats Trick You

Let the holidays begin!

Halloween starts the festive season that lasts up until Valentine’s Day. Three and a half months of constant celebrations that will more than likely involve decadent sweets and an abundance of irresistible treats. What do you do to stay focused and on track with your weight loss plan? Here are a few suggestions that may help you survive the scary candyland of Halloween and possibly get you through Thanksgiving, the Winter Holidays, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day.

Have a Plan
If your family plans to take part in Trick or Treating, involve the kids in making the night’s schedule. Feed them a nutritious dinner they helped prepare and let them know that you will eat early on Halloween night, so that they will have all the energy they will need to run from house to house and won’t be too hungry when it comes time to sifting through the candy bucket. It is also important that they drink plenty of fluid since children may get overheated in Halloween costumes.

Agree on a Candy Limit
Not only should you suggest a limit to the total amount of candy your children may gather in one night, it is also wise to agree on how much candy your children are allowed to eat on Halloween night and each day thereafter. You may want to make a similar confidential agreement with yourself. Note: “Unlimited access” or “until the chocolate is gone” is not a good plan. Even small candy bars will add up faster than you think.

One Snickers mini has 45 calories and 2g of fat

One serving of Candy Corn (22 pieces) contains 140 calories and 28g of sugar (over 6.5 tsp)

One Tootsie Roll Pop has 60 calories

One package (1.7oz) of milk chocolate M&Ms; has 240 calories and 10g of fat (6g saturated)

Have Healthy Snacks Readily Available
Keep healthy between-meal snacks in view and easily accessible. A bowl filled with apples, bananas, or seasonal fruit is a better center piece than Skittles®, M&M;’s®, and Tootsie Rolls®. Keep the candy out of sight. Assign a kids’ shelf in your refrigerator and pantry and fill it with healthy treats such as fat-free yogurt, whole grain crackers and granola, healthy dips, and fresh cut vegetables.

Stress Moderation
Do not give candy, or food for that matter, more attention than necessary. If something is forbidden or overly restricted it often becomes more desirable. Teach and model moderation. All foods can fit, if we are reasonable about the amount and frequency. Remember the 90/10 rule!

Do Not Attach Emotions to Candy
Do not to use candy to reward, bribe, or as a sign of love. By attaching emotions to certain foods, you may inadvertently set the stage for future disordered eating behaviors, including undereating, anorexia, and overeating, obesity.

Begin New Family Traditions
Do not make the holiday all about the candy or food. Make it a time to begin new family rituals, such as putting up festive holiday decorations. Carve pumpkins and roast the seeds. Hold an annual scavenger hunt or hold a neighborhood gathering with a costume contest and talent show. Take part in a holiday fund run such as the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving.

Include Physical Activity
As the air turns chilly, you naturally slow down, bundle up, and eat hearty calorie dense meals. Make sure you and your child stay active by choosing after-school activities that promote physical fitness. Rake leaves into piles and jump into them. Try a new sport, visit a park, or return to the zoo now that the weather is cooler and the animals are more active. Keep sedentary activities, such as watching TV, computer, and Smartphones to a minimum.

Keep it Safe
At the end of the day, it all comes down to making sure you have a safe and fun Halloween. Your children are only young for a short while and you won’t have this excuse to act like a kid again!

Happy Halloween and stay tuned to the blog for more upcoming holiday survival tips!

What tricks have helped you stay on track through the holidays?

Krista L. Haynes, R.D.