Could you eat $3 billion worth of candy?
That’s how much Americans are predicted to spend on candy during Halloween this year.
That’s a chilling amount of sugar flowing into our homes.
Even if you’re excited to trick or treat yo’self a little this spooky season, for those of us trying to stick to our health goals, the amount of candy that could end up piled into our cabinets is scarier than the neighbor’s yard decor.
Fear not! By the end of this read, you’re going to have all the strategies you need to keep the sugar scares at bay and make healthy decisions this Halloween.
Let’s start with the scary reality of sugar and its effect on the body…
The AHA suggests that we don’t have more than 6 teaspoons or about 24 grams of added sugar a day. Sounds reasonable, right? You’re not stirring spoonfuls of sugar into your morning coffee or munching on sugar cubes after dinner.
Even if you’re skipping dessert altogether, you’re probably consuming a lot more sugar than you realize!
Sugar is added to most packaged and pre-made foods we eat. Whether it’s pasta sauce, bacon, bread, or a beverage, sugar slips in without us even knowing it. ½ cup of pasta sauce sneaks in 5 grams of added sugar. That “healthy” yogurt breakfast you’ve been having each morning may be tacking on close to 20 grams of added sugar. Sugar may be sweet, but it can be tricky too.
Not only does sugar sneak into our everyday foods, but it’s also a master of disguise. Sugar has been called all sorts of things on food labels, like:
Here’s a clue—many of sugar’s names end in the letters “ose.” Anytime you see these names on a food label, know we’re talking about added sugar.
And you guessed it, many of these ingredients are commonly found in the sweet treats handed out on Halloween night.
While we can consume some processed sugar in our daily diet, excess amounts of it can lead to a variety of health issues, like:
As spooky as sugar sounds, you don’t have to fear it. Here are a few things you can do this Halloween to brave all the sweet treats and come out on the other side sticking to your health goals.
Before you make a mad dash for Halloween candy that rivals the 2019 toilet paper shortage, remember, there’s no scarcity of candy out there. Keep your house clear of candy bags (and all the temptation to snack on it) until the last minute before Halloween. Then keep it out of sight and out of mind.
Once it’s time to buy, grab the lollipops, the banana candy—whatever you’d most likely turn your nose up to. The less you like the candy, the less likely you’ll over-indulge on it. Plus, remember, you bought that candy for the kiddos. No one likes to turn away cute zombies and vampires when the candy bowl is empty, so save the sweet treats for them.
On Halloween there are a few steps you can take that will bolster your endurance to resist any candy you don’t mindfully decide to enjoy. Set an intention to keep track. Jot down the candy you eat in your phone notes or the MyFitnessPal app. This way, you’ll bring more mindfulness to what slips through the lips.
Oftentimes, cravings are your body’s cry for certain nutrients. If you’re frequently craving sugar, you might be lacking in a nutrient like magnesium, found in whole, healthy foods.
Before the evening’s events begin, satisfy your body’s (and your kids’) nutritional needs by making a filling meal that’s packed with whole foods. Keep healthy snacks on hand as well so that if you or the kids get hungry, you can fill up on healthier options.
Dehydration can also mask itself as sugar cravings, so make sure that you stay hydrated to keep those cravings at bay. If you have a flavored electrolyte powder, add it to your water bottle and keep it with you. Enjoy a sweet sip to satisfy your cravings and keep you hydrated all at once.
There’s nothing wrong, and actually something quite wonderful, about enjoying your favorite dessert or a nostalgic sweet treat from childhood. But we often regret mindlessly munching, keeling over to cravings, or binging on unhealthy food.
Halloween is a perfect time to practice and teach your kids how to enjoy themselves without going overboard. Make the process fun for the kids too by playing the “Switch Witch” game. Layout all the candy, and have your kids pick their top 10 or 15 favorite pieces. These, they can enjoy in the following weeks. Then, they’ll put the rest of the candy outside. During the night, the “switch witch” will come and swap the candy out for a little toy, a new piece of clothing, or some cash.
See how I like to do it here…
You can also clear the house of unwanted candy and encourage your kids to be generous by finding an organization they can donate extra candy to. Include them in the process and have them pick the organization—here are 6 to get you started—then drop off your extra sweets together.
Once the house is cleared and Halloween weekend is over, it’s time to get back on track. Don’t let a few candy bars knock you down. If you hop right back into your healthy schedule, those sweet treats you enjoyed will just be a blip on your health journey.
With these few tips, you can stand up bravely to Halloween and all it brings. Enjoy the spooky season and even a mindful piece of your favorite candy. You’re ready and prepared to keep the binging at bay.
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If you’re ready to knock your health goals out of the park, it’s time to join a LEAN session. I’ll give you all the best health counseling, training, and support you’ll need to meet your health goals. If you’re like the other LEAN members, you’ll come out on the other side more vibrant and confident than ever!