It’s that time of year again!! Halloween is the beginning of the almost three-month-long holiday season by the time we get through New Years. The coming months are full of candy, sweet treats galore, parties, and indulgent foods every direction you look. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to have fun with this holiday, and enjoy it without a candy hangover! Here are a few tips so you and your family can do the same:
1. Eat before you Trick or Treat
The temptation to dig into the huge variety of candy the kids collect while trick or treating is real! The kids want to indulge too! To ensure you and your kiddos get some good nutrition in and don’t just feast on candy for dinner, make sure to have a hearty, nutritious meal BEFORE heading out to collect all the goodies. How about this protein-rich turkey veggie meatloaf or some quick veggie-loaded peanut noodles? These Jack-O-Lantern stuffed bell peppers are a festive way to start the evening with your kids too!
2. If you’re throwing or going to a party, make a dish that adds value, not subtracts it.
You are in control of what you make, but not necessarily what others will make. If you make a dish you know is healthy, or at least upgraded from a less healthy version, you know you will have some options for a more nutritious meal at the party. You have two choices:
Make food you think everyone will enjoy, AND know will fill the nutrition bank account of all your friends and kiddos in attendance.
Make food you think everyone will enjoy, BUT won’t leave anyone feeling healthier or better than they did before they ate it.
You know that food hangover I’m talking about. I love when I can add value to the lives of others, rather than be part of the battle they may be facing to make healthier choices themselves. Here are some fun, upgraded Halloween food ideas to get you started: http://howdoesshe.com/healthy-halloween-treat-ideas/
Roasted brain, anyone?
3. Size Matters.
Use small plates at parties, get small bags or buckets for your kids to limit the amount of candy they collect, Choose mini sizes of candy to try instead of the full bar. Everything adds up, and on days like Halloween when there are small bites and tastes of goodies everywhere you look, do your best to keep portions and your family’s health goals in mind.
4. Be that weird neighbor who hands out something other than candy.
How about little packets of trail mix, nuts or dried fruit, fun pencils, erasers, glow sticks, bubbles, yo-yos, or stickers? If you know it’s not doing you and your own family any favors, why add to the pile of candy trick-or-treaters are already getting? Also, if you don’t buy candy, it’s not sitting in the house tempting you. I always go by Dr. John Berardi’s (of Precision Nutrition) first law of food: “If a food is in your house, or possession, either you, someone you love, or someone you marginally tolerate, will eventually eat it” So if you or anyone in your house does not feel in control around candy, just don’t buy it. Here's a list with some fun candy alternatives: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/10/05/non-candy-halloween-treats_n_8234818.html
5. Be in control of your environment.
Continuing on the point above, halloween doesn’t usually end on October 31st. There is leftover candy for weeks, and possibly leftover party food in your fridge. If there is something in your house that doesn’t serve your family’s health goals, CUT. IT. OUT. (Sorry…child of the 90’s here…can’t pass up a Full House reference! :D)
Can you work out a plan with your kids to take most of their candy in to school to share, or donate to a homeless shelter? How about trade it for movie tickets, a day at the trampoline park, or a fun new board game? Can you take that leftover salami platter, or mac & cheese dish, in to work…or simply throw it out? Again, if the food is in your house, it will be eaten by someone at some point. Use this as a teaching opportunity for your kids. Indulging is fine every now and then, but having loads of candy every day isn’t going to make anyone feel healthy, wealthy, or wise.
I’d love to know: what are some of your tricks and treats for having a happy, healthy Halloween! Share with the masses! We can use all the support and ideas we can get as the busy holiday season begins!
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Cover photo cred: Howdoesshe.com