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10 Healthy Halloween Tips

Published October 24, 2019
Kate Sullivan

Written By: Kate Sullivan, MS

Kate holds a MS in Business Psychology and is currently a PHD researcher in Well-Being and Performance Psychology.

<article> <div> <ol> <li><a href="#section1">Be Realistic</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">Avoid Temptation</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">Swap Savory for Sweet Treats</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">Give Toys, Not Snacks</a></li> <li><a href="#section5">Plan a Healthy Halloween Party Menu</a></li> <li><a href="#section6">Add Activities</a></li> <li><a href="#section7">Fuel Up Ahead of Time</a></li> <li><a href="#section8">Add Exercise</a></li> <li><a href="#section9">Do Some Good</a></li> <li><a href="#section10">Extend the Fun</a></li> </ol> <ul style="list-style-type:none;"> <li><a href="#section11">Wrap Up</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p align="justify">The spookiest time of year is upon us! Halloween can be incredibly fun for kids and adults alike—as long as you don’t let all those treats play tricks on your healthy lifestyle.</p> <p align="justify">To help you make the most of the season, we’ve brewed up 10 easy ways for you and your family to have a healthier Halloween. Let’s get to it.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <h2 id="section1">1. Be Realistic</h2> <p align="justify">Let’s face it—you’re probably going to have a couple pieces of candy around Halloween. And that’s okay. We’re all human, and enjoying a sweet treat with family or friends isn’t the end of the world. </p> <p align="justify">However, you can plan wisely to minimize the impact on your regular healthy routine. Do you follow a cyclical diet? You might benefit from <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">building a cheat day</a> around Halloween <sup>1</sup>. You can also <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">plan to eat any carbs</a> at the most appropriate times to minimize their metabolic impact. For example, some studies show that eating protein and carbs together after a workout can help you shed fat—so if you simply <i>must</i> have a candy bar, do it after a cardio session <sup>2</sup>. </p> </section> <section> <h2 id="section2">2. Avoid Temptation</h2> <p align="justify">Halloween can be a tricky time to stick to a diet, especially if you normally wouldn’t keep candy around. But you don’t need to be the only house on the block with its lights off just to avoid temptation.</p> <p align="justify">Try buying bulk candy online and having it shipped to you, then leaving the box sealed until the big day. That makes it harder to mindlessly grab a piece out of the bag before the trick-or-treaters arrive. </p> <p align="justify">Better still, make sure that whatever candy you <i>do</i> purchase is something you don’t like. If you can’t stand Skittles, you won’t be tempted to snack on the 5-pound bag you bought to hand out.</p> <p align="justify">Knowing your weaknesses also means you can trick them. Addicted to chocolate? Stock up on keto-friendly, heart-healthy <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">dark chocolate</a> to satisfy your craving so you won’t devour the mini Snickers. </p> </section> <section> <h2 id="section3">3. Swap Savory for Sweet Treats</h2> <p align="justify">Halloween is a challenge for anyone watching their sugar intake. According to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, kids can consume up to 7,000 calories and 3 <i>cups</i> of sugar on Halloween <sup>3</sup>. That’s enough sugar for a normal <i>week</i>. </p> <p align="justify">Rather than sugar-loaded candy classics, fill your treat bowl with savory treats, which are often healthier. </p> <p align="justify">Single-serving packs of pretzels, popcorn, dried fruit, or trail mix are good trick-or-treat options (but stick to pre-packaged food instead of homemade so parents feel safe).</p> <p align="justify">If you’d like to stay low-carb, check for 100-calorie packs of nuts in bulk at a warehouse store like Costco. </p> <p align="justify">To be allergen-aware, try packs of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or sugar-free gum.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="halloween-trick-or-treat-baskets-costumes"> </picture> </section> <section> <h2 id="section4">4. Give Toys, Not Snacks</h2> <p align="justify">Halloween candy gives a few fleeting moments of joy…but can derail your diet goals in a big way <sup>4</sup>. Moreover, binging on sugar doesn’t demonstrate proper eating habits for kids. Studies show that modeling moderation and positive alternatives at home is the best way to set them up for a lifetime of healthy habits<sup>5,6</sup>.</p> <p align="justify">Teaching kids better habits <i>can</i> coexist with getting into the Halloween spirit. Giving away cool toys and games instead of snacks is an easy win-win way to do just that.</p> <p align="justify">On a budget? Head to the <a target="_blank" href="" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Dollar Tree</a> or <a target="_blank" href="" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Oriental Trading Company</a> to order inexpensive, fun toys in bulk.</p> <h3>Toys to Give Out When Trick-or-Treating:</h3> <ul> <li>Mini plush toys or rubber ducks</li> <li>Slime or Play-Doh</li> <li>Glow sticks </li> <li>Bouncy balls</li> <li>Coloring books</li> <li>Stickers</li> <li>Spider rings or vampire teeth</li> <li>Craft kits</li> </ul> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="pumpkin-spice-cake-cream-cheese"> </picture> </section> <section> <h2 id="section5">5. Plan a Healthy Halloween Party Menu</h2> <p align="justify">Hosting a Halloween party? No one said you had to go heavy on candy to have a great time. Try our healthy, tasty Halloween recipes:</p> <h3>Appetizers and Finger Food</h3> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Low-Carb Pretzel Bites</a> with <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Homemade Ranch</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Buffalo Meatballs</a>: Serve with toothpicks as an easy appetizer</li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Cheesesteak Stuffed Mushrooms</a></li> <li>Easy <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Taco Bites</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Greek Tzatziki Dip</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Baba (Yaga) Ganoush</a>: Mediterranean eggplant dip</li> <li>Keto <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Sour Cream and Onion Crackers</a></li> </ul> <h3>Mains</h3> <ul> <li>Keto <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Sheet Pan Pizza</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">30-Minute Chili</a></li> </ul> <h3>Desserts</h3> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">No-Bake Brownie Bites</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Pumpkin Truffles</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Cinnamon Trail Mix</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Spiced Roll Cake</a>: Swap in pumpkin pie spice for a fall theme</li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Pumpkin Spiced Whipped Cream</a>: To top that spiced cake, hot chocolate, or coffee</li> </ul> </section> <section> <h2 id="section6">6. Add Activities</h2> <p align="justify">Make activities the highlight of your night—and no one will notice you’ve swapped healthy <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">chocolate zucchini bread</a> for cupcakes.</p> <h3>Kids Halloween Party Activities</h3> <ul> <li>Costume contest</li> <li>Great Pumpkin Hunt: Attach small tags labeled with prizes to miniature pumpkins, then hide around the house or yard</li> <li>Zombie Tag: Start with one “zombie” as “it.” Whoever they tag joins them in being able to tag others and turn them into zombies, too!</li> </ul> <h3>Adult Halloween Party Activities</h3> <ul> <li>Themed costume contest: best pun (cereal killer, anyone?), dress as a work of art, etc.</li> <li>Have a monster movie marathon</li> <li>Organize a murder mystery dinner party</li> </ul> </section> <section> <h2 id="section7">7. Fuel Up Ahead of Time</h2> <p align="justify">If you’ll be trick-or-treating with the kids, start your night with a healthy <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">casserole</a> or <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">stew</a> before you go. This small shift will be a game-changer for you <i>and</i> the kids, who will be less tempted to dive into the candy while still out.</p> <p align="justify">The same goes for any parties you might be attending. If you’re not sure what’s on the menu, have a healthy snack or light meal before heading out.</p> <p align="justify">You can also ask the host if you can bring a dish to contribute, then whip up your favorite <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">healthy treats</a> to share.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="family-fall-seasonal-child-mother-leaves-walking-park"> </picture> </section> <section> <h2 id="section8">8. Add Exercise</h2> <p align="justify">Make fitness fun and use Halloween as a time to exercise.</p> <p align="justify">Plan your trick-or-treat route in advance by <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">walking</a> or jogging through the neighborhood. You can also pump up that workout by slipping in a few <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">jumping jacks</a>. </p> <p align="justify">On the big night, give each kid an inexpensive pedometer and give a prize to whoever can move the most. Consider “cheating” a little bit by jogging in place while the kids head to each house. If the kids beat you for steps taken, create a fun forfeit like having to do 20 pushups or jumping jacks.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="child-hands-holding-candy-chocolate-m&m"> </picture> </section> <section> <h2 id="section9">9. Do Some Good</h2> <p align="justify">Have your kids sort their candy into two piles: one of favorites and one of candy they don’t prefer.</p> <p align="justify">Then put that extra candy to good use while getting half those calories out of the house. By donating half of their trick-or-treat goodies to <a target="_blank" href="" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Operation Gratitude’s</a> candy buy-back program, kids learn that charity and kindness are an integral part of everyday life. </p> <p align="justify">Participating dentists and other organizers give kids $1 per pound of donated candy, which is then sent to US troops stationed overseas to brighten their day. <a target="_blank" href="" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Check here</a> to see if there’s a buy-back event near you.</p> </section> <section> <h2 id="section10">10.Extend the Fun</h2> <p align="justify">Rather than binging on the big night, moderate your enjoyment. Stash any trick-or-treat candy and allow each child only one or two pieces each day.</p> <p align="justify">This trick works for adults, too. By hiding or freezing tempting treats, you can make yourself think twice before mindlessly snacking. You have to <i>really</i> want that candy bar if you have to get a step stool to reach it.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <h2 id="section11">Wrap Up</h2> <p align="justify">Don’t let Halloween play tricks on your waistline or your family’s healthy lifestyle. Plan ahead: By switching sugary snacks for healthy options and being mindful of your willpower and limitations, your whole family can skip the tricks and enjoy more treats this Halloween!</p> <h3>Resources:</h3> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Effects of short-term carbohydrate or fat overfeeding</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Halloween Treats are Full of Tricks</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Insights revealed by rodent models of sugar binge eating</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Determinants of healthy eating</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Teaching approaches and strategies that promote healthy eating</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

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