Tips for Staying on Track this Halloween Season!

Halloween Candy Corn

If you are feeling haunted by the sight of Halloween treats, these tips for creating an action plan can help you stay on track with your weight management goals. While it may seem as though this holiday season is the start of one long feast through the end of the year, you can certainly enjoy it without losing focus on what is really important. The tempting treats and empty calories made more available this time of year can be a struggle for many people, whether they are following a strict weight-loss plan or just trying to eat healthy without consuming the added sugar that surrounds us.

The fact is that most of us are not exercising enough to warrant the extra calories in our meal plan — and saving calories or skipping meals to include them can be just as detrimental. For some, it is simpler to avoid these unhealthy calories altogether to escape the trap of overindulging more often. For others, planning to splurge now and then may help keep you on track and feel less deprived. Either way, the key is planning and mindfully eating controlled portions.

Consider these Tips for Staying Healthy this Halloween!

  • #1: Follow Your Normal Eating Pattern – Skipping meals only makes you more likely to binge. Eating a meal that is made up of lean protein and fiber (vegetables) will ensure that you are satisfied and don’t have room for more than just a small treat afterwards. If you plan a splurge, get right back on track at the next mealtime with your normal plan versus allowing a splurge to turn into a week-long or month-long period of overindulging.
  • halloween-candy#2: Halloween is a Good Time to Procrastinate – Waiting to purchase candy for trick-or-treaters until the last minute will keep those treats out of sight temporarily. Wait to open the bag until they start arriving at your door. If you have any leftovers, put it away to take to work or give to your neighbors.
  • #3: Chew Sugarless Gum – If you are attending a Halloween party or passing out candy, try chewing on sugarless gum or staying close to some raw vegetables with a savory, healthy dip. Studies show than chewing gum can help relieve stress, satisfy a sweet tooth and overcome the urge to eat candy — so keep it handy!
  • #4: Sip on Low-Calorie Beverages – Low cal beverages, such as herbal tea or water with a flavor enhancer, can keep your hands and mouth busy while also keeping you hydrated.
  • Halloween pumpkin treat#5: Don’t Purchase Your Favorites – Purchase candy to pass out on Halloween that is not one of your favorites. If it’s not worth the calories, you may think twice before eating it. Also, avoid eating it straight from a large bucket or bag which promotes mindless eating. If you are going to eat it, portion it after checking the food label and stick to one serving. Try alternating small pieces with a few almonds for some nutrients in-between bites. This can help lead to
    earlier satiety and therefore less candy.
  • #6: Choose Healthy Ways to Eat Pumpkin – If you crave pumpkin during the Fall season, buy pumpkin puree and add it to a protein shake. You can also make your own recipes using substitute ingredients in place of unhealthy ones. Pumpkin makes a great substitute for fats such as oil or butter in baking. Pumpkin breads/rolls/cakes/waffles are also high-calorie treats besides candy that are often available only during the season, making them even more tempting. Coffee shops will also boast of pumpkin spiced lattes and other beverages, so try a pumpkin-flavored brew as opposed to a specialty coffee drink laden with sugar and fat.
  • journal#7: Make Sure to Incorporate Movement – Get
    away from your desk to take a walk whenever you can, and make extra time for exercising and getting fresh air. If you feel less stressed during the holiday season, you are more likely to stick to your fitness and weight-loss goals. Use exercise as a means to boost your energy and confidence, not just a way of burning calories.
  • #8: Lastly, Stay Accountable – It is important to be honest with yourself and an accountability partner. Keeping a food journal is a great way to stay on track and one of the best ways to be accountable for every bite you consume. Monitoring your weight, especially when you don’t want to, is the other part of being accountable to yourself. If it goes up despite your best efforts, don’t allow negative self-talk to go along with it. Beating yourself up is counterproductive and can lead to self-sabotage. Instead, choose a healthy breakfast to start your day out right and recommit to your program. For information about founding an accountability partner, please CLICK HERE.

The biggest key to success when planning a treat is remembering that seasonal treats are just that — a treat that should be eaten in moderation and in small amounts, not several times each day. Ultimately, keeping your goals at the forefront of your mind and reading your labels will help you avoid the temptation over Halloween. Your health and long-term success are worth more than the short-term satisfaction of eating empty calories, so make a plan to stay focused on your goals!


About the Author:

Pam Helmlinger

Pam Helmlinger, RD, LDN, CDE, is a registered dietitian and diabetes educator at Centennial Center for the Treatment of Obesity. She provides nutrition counseling to pre-and post-op bariatric patients along with a medical weight-loss program. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Harding University in 2001 and has worked with the program since 2006. 

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