Happy and Healthy Holidays – Part 1 Halloween

The air is a little cooler and the candy isle is again filled with tons of spooky treats, which means it is almost Halloween! For many this is a season to look forward to. However, if you are trying to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle, this time of year may be less than spooktacular. Halloween starts off the holiday season with a reason to overindulge on added sugars and fats. And of course it doesn’t end there, because it’s closely followed by Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years – don’t forget Valentine’s Day. With all of the holiday reasons we have made up to binge on our favorite treats and pass on our physical activity plans, it may seem as if we should just postpone all of our plans to be healthier. 

Wait, no! These are just excuses that we use every year. With a little healthy planning and motivation the holidays don’t have to be the demise of our health goals. Which is why you’ll notice this is part one of the Happy and Healthy Holidays, so check back for tips to keep you on track throughout the season.  Let’s start with Halloween, try these tips with your family, friends and co-workers.

AT HOME

Make it an Event. Halloween shouldn’t just be about the treats. Get the whole family involved and get some exercise by making this Halloween a fun family physical activity event. Set a goal of how many houses you will walk to and then stick to it! Wear good shoes for walking too!

Fill Up First. Who doesn’t want to eat their favorite candy before it goes into their trick-or-treat bag? To help everyone hold off, having a healthy meal BEFORE you go trick-or-treating will reduce the need to “snack” or overindulge because your tummies will be full.

Get Rid of It. Candy can still be part of a healthy Halloween, but too much is never a good thing. Set limits with your children and yourself. After trick-or-treating, have your children sit down and select their favorites. From this selection have them pick out enough candy to have one or two pieces a day for 5 days. Put the selected candy away to remove the temptation of eating it all in one sitting.

Buy it Back. Have your children trade in their remaining treats for nonfood items like cheap toys and stickers or a fun activity like a zoo trip or a day in the park.

Keep Yourself Accountable. As a family, decide how you will use the remaining candy. You can save it for holiday baking. Recycle it in arts and crafts (think one fancy gingerbread house). Try looking for a local dentist that is buying candy back. Or simply throw it away and then avoid the urge to buy more.

Although many of our current traditions encourage overindulgence, for kids and kids at heart, Halloween can still be one of the most exciting days of the year without all the emphases on tons and tons of candy! The day is after all meant to be fun, thrilling and special. So as you make plans to celebrate, set some ground rules that you and your family can agree on and encourage ideas that may be outside of the box.  By incorporating physical activity and family fun you can still have your treats and can eat them too!

AT THE OFFICE

Don’t to go to work hungry. Going to work starving means you’re more likely to go on a 10am chocolate feast. To boost your willpower, eat a balanced breakfast before work or bring it with you and eat it as soon as you get there. Focus on fiber and protein to keep you full longer. Do the same for lunch.

Please remove yourself from the candy. Seeing candy and treats all day increases the number of times you have to tell yourself no; which means at some point even the strongest of us will probably say yes. Try not to hang out in areas where treats may be. If it’s on your neighbor’s desk, ask them to help block it from your view.

Encourage healthier snacks. Being healthy doesn’t mean you have to avoid all the festive fun! Look for healthier snack ideas like carrot stick fingers or Halloween themed pretzel shapes.

Drink water. Sometimes being thirsty can be confused with hunger. So staying hydrated can help boost your willpower. And simply put, water is good for you plus it has zero calories – a bonus that is hard to find this time of year.     

Remember to include your coworkers in your plans. Having others around you that are helping you stay on track is priceless – plus you may be helping them as well!

Have other tips you want to share? Post them below. Don’t forget to check back for Happy and Healthy Holidays – Part 2 Thanksgiving.

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