Halloween Can Be A Healthy Holiday Season Start

Published October 30, 2009

(BlackDoctor.org) -- Haunted houses, horror movies and scary masks are not the only frightening things about Halloween. This time of year can be the beginning of three months of holiday weight gain.

Sugary, fat-filled treats seem to start appearing on co-workers’ desks, in waiting areas, on every aisle of the grocery store, and even on your kitchen counter. It is hard to avoid giving into the temptation of having a few of these treats throughout the day.

But each piece of candy means extra calories, which can translate into weight gain. An extra 3,500 calories in one week can mean 1 pound of weight gain. Consider the fact that one serving of miniature peanut butter cups contains 210 calories and 12 grams of fat. That means just five peanut butter cups and a handful of candy corn can easily add an extra 500 calories in one day. What can we do to make this holiday the beginning of a healthy holiday season?

Buy healthy snacks to replace the traditional Halloween treats. Miniature granola bars, small boxes of raisins, mini-popcorn bags, and whole fruits are great treats that can be low-fat and low-calorie. Handing out non-food treats to the trick-or-treaters, such as stickers, crayons, or pencils, are more great options to help eliminate unhealthy foods from your household.

Avoid the temptation to have “just one more.” Keep treats out of sight. If possible, buy an appropriate amount of candy that you do not like the day before Halloween. Avoid opening the package until trick-or-treaters start arriving and hopefully the candy will be all gone by the end of the night. If there is extra, put it in the freezer to prevent its enticement.

Host a healthy Halloween party. Offer to host a party and serve plenty of healthy snacks, such as a vegetable tray, popcorn, and homemade treats. If you are attending a party, exercise and eat a well-balanced meal before attending in order to curb your appetite.

Set a limit. If you want one piece of candy, limit yourself to one piece. One piece of candy should satisfy your craving. In case you are still tempted, keep other healthy snacks like nuts, granola bars, or sugar-free pudding around.

Remember the eating behaviors that begin on Halloween will set the tone for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, so make this the start of a healthy holiday season.

Written by Kristen F. Gradney, RD, LDN, BDO Contributing Writer

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