16 Tips for a Healthy Halloween
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In this article:
- Halloween candy can derail a diet. But it does not need to.
- Smaller candy portions and more nutritious choices for dinner and with your candy can help.
- Staying active and taking other health and safety measures can support health and weight loss on Halloween.
- Lark is full of tips, motivation, and tools for weight loss during the holiday season and beyond.
Are you ready for Halloween? Or are you worried about eating too much candy? Sugary treats may be everywhere. But they do not need to derail your diet. These are 16 tips to make Halloween healthier for you and your family.
1. Size matters
When it comes to candy, smaller is better.
- Mini candy bars have 40 to 50 calories each.
- Fun-size candy bars have about 65 to 80 calories.
- And full-size bars can have up to 300 calories.
Tootsie Roll Midgees, Hershey's Kisses, and miniature Reese's Cups are also small.
2. Choose dark chocolate
Dark chocolate has benefits for blood sugar, heart health, and cognitive function, as explained in a review article in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The American Dental Association says chocolate is easier to clean off of your teeth than sugary candies. Choosing dark chocolate over milk chocolate gives you more antioxidants.
3. Choose one perfect treat.
Some people do better when they completely avoid junk foods that they are craving. These people may find that they cannot stop with just a small amount. Having a bite leads to overeating. Other people are better off having a small amount. They find that they can satisfy the craving by having a bite. If that describes you, decide what you really, really want. Then have a small amount. Enjoy it. Then get back to your healthy eating plan.
4. Consider lollipops
Sucking on lollipops or hard candy can help limit calories and sugar. A small lollipop, such as a Dum-Dum, has only 20 calories. Still, be sure to suck it, not chew it. The American Dental Association warns that hard candy can break your teeth. Sugar-free options are not exactly healthy, but they can help reduce tooth decay compared to sugary lollipops.
5. Drink water
Speaking of dental health and candy, be sure to drink water to rinse your teeth. This is especially true if there is no toothbrush handy. Drink often if you are sucking on a lollipop, and rinse your mouth when you are done with your candy treat.
6. Brush your teeth.
Brush your teeth after eating to protect your teeth from decay. It can also help you stop eating. If you use a strong, mint-flavored toothpaste, candy will not taste as good after you brush.
7. Introduce your family to healthy treats.
Iced pumpkin-shaped cookies and chocolate cupcakes with orange frosting are cute. But do you and your family even know how much fun it can be to eat healthy foods for Halloween? The possibilities are limitless. These are some examples.
- Banana ghosts with raisins or chocolate chips for eyes
- Tangerine pumpkins with a slice of green apple for the stem
- Brooms with pretzel sticks for the handle and string cheese for the bristles
- Mummy pizzas with string cheese for the mummy wrapping, olives for the eyes, and whole-grain English muffin halves for the crust
- Bell pepper jack-o-lanterns filled with chunky tomato sauce into which you can dip carrot or celery sticks
8. Have a healthy dinner.
Before you go trick-or-treating or start your Halloween party, fill up on your usual healthy dinner foods. You might have some lean protein such as fish, chicken, or beans, and some vegetables, such as a salad or some steamed vegetables, and a serving of a high-fiber carbohydrate. You can get into the Halloween spirit with a cute meal such as turkey loaf shaped like a foot, with tomato sauce for blood.
9. Watch for traffic.
Are you going trick-or-treating with your family? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some safety tips. Wear reflective clothing or accessories, and have your children wear them, too. Keep your group together, and be sure everyone crosses the street at the same time, only after checking carefully for traffic.
10. Go sightseeing
Walking up and down the streets of your neighborhood is a far better way to look at the decorations than driving by. And it burns calories. If your neighborhood is not well decorated or is not safe to walk around, consider driving to a nearby location with better conditions.
11. Take your protective gear
Many families may return to trick-or-treating may be back this year after skipping it in 2020 due to COVID-19. But, the pandemic is still around. The CDC says to wear a cloth mask, which is not the same as a mask for a costume. Also, carry hand sanitizer so you can clean your hands often while you are out and about.
12. Hand out non-edible treats
When you hand out non-edible treats, you are doing a favor for every parent in the neighborhood. And you are helping yourself by keeping bags of candy out of the house so there is no potential for that candy to tempt you.
- Glow sticks
- Glow-in-the-dark toys
- Halloween notepads, pencils, and erasers
- Halloween stickers
The American Heart Association has these and other ideas.
13. Have something satisfying
Some candies can be more satisfying than others. Some are nearly pure sugar. Examples include Pixie Stix and Skittles. Others have nuts or peanuts and chocolate. That means they have some fat and protein, which can increase the satisfaction you get from them. Examples include Snickers, Baby Ruth, and peanut or almond M&Ms or Hershey's Kisses.
14. Stay active
If you are hosting a Halloween party, include activities that do not involve eating. A mini pumpkin toss, zombie sack races, and two-person spider crawl races are some active games for kids (and some adults) to enjoy.
15. Find new meaning in Halloween
What does Halloween mean to you? If it means candy, it may be time to find some new meaning. What about these?
- Time with family
- Making and photographing fun costumes
- Decorating the house
- Checking out decorations around the neighborhood
- Donating candy to local homeless shelters or putting it in care packages for troops overseas
16. Have a plan for November 1
What will you do with the candy in your house on the day after Halloween? May we suggest getting rid of it? If you have children, give them their share according to whatever rules you have in your household. Then donate the rest so that you cannot eat it. Schools, churches, and shelters usually accept leftover Halloween candy.
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