Skip the Sugar Trap this Halloween
By Britni Vincent, RD, LD
October 24, 2023
The holiday season is fast approaching, which means lots of sweets and treats. Halloween can be the ultimate sugar trap. Sugar on Halloween is even more frightening than the ghosts and monsters walking around. Just one Fun Size Snickers® contains 9 grams of sugar (2.25 teaspoons), and we all know you’re not going to stop at just one. You may want to think twice about grabbing a handful of candy corn every time you walk by the candy corn bowl. Ten measly pieces of candy corn contains 17 grams of sugar (4 teaspoons). To bypass the sugar trap this Halloween here are some healthy ideas for you and your children:
Skip the candy handouts and opt for non-food items
Keeping candy in the house may be too tempting. It’s likely that you will eat a piece of Halloween candy even if you have good intentions of only handing them out to kids. Then, before you know it, that one piece leads to many more pieces! Instead of candy, hand out fun items like pencils with designs, mini bottles of bubbles, stickers, Play-Doh®, or glow sticks. This is a much healthier option for you and the kiddos.
Ditch the break room
This time of year, workplaces can be big temptations with tons of candy and treats in break rooms and at your co-worker’s desk. Skip the temptation and go for a walk. Or, if you like to bake, make Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars and bring them to work to share. Another option is to put together some apples with almond butter and cinnamon to bring to the break room.
Fill your kids up before they go out trick or treating
Before you turn them loose for the evening, make sure your kids eat a balanced dinner with protein, healthy carbohydrates, and healthy fats. They will be much less likely to devour their candy when they have a full stomach. Fall is the perfect season for a delicious bowl of Pot Pie Soup. It’s a one-pot, balanced meal with a healthy “comfort food” feel (plus great to make with holiday leftovers come the end of the year!).
Trade in the candy
To prevent you and your children from overeating candy, find a Halloween candy buy-back program. This is when a dentist buys back your children’s treats in exchange for coupons, toothbrushes, and sometimes even cash. Another option is to allow your children to trade in their candy for a gift card of their choice. This doesn’t mean that you can eat the candy they “sell” you—just get rid of it!
Avoid the guilt and cravings
You are always just one meal or snack away from eating real food. So maybe you end up indulging in the candy on Halloween… enjoy it in the moment. Rather than feeling guilty, just think of it as a bump in the road and a learning experience where you can start fresh the next time you eat. Guilt doesn’t serve us and sometimes it can fuel more cravings. Instead of getting upset with yourself, choose a balanced breakfast the next morning and be sure to plan out the rest of your meals and snacks that day to help fight off any sugar cravings. Same goes for your kids— serve them a real food breakfast the next morning and they will be less affected by the candy the night before. At my house, my kids can eat the candy they want after trick or treating and after that we get rid of the candy. The next day is just like any other day – a day of real food.
Have a plan; don’t let Halloween be an excuse to get away from your healthy habits!
To recap, choose non-food items to give out if you plan to have trick-or-treaters. Skip hanging out in the break room where there might be temptations or bring a healthy version of something to share (your co-workers will thank you!). Feed the kiddos a nice hearty, balanced dinner before festivities and figure out where all that candy is going afterwards. If you decide to partake in the sugar, return to your real food way of eating at your next meal or snack and make a plan for your cravings. Happy Halloween!
For more information on healthy habits and holidays, check out these resources:
- Read: A Healthy Halloween Starts at Breakfast
- Listen: How To Reframe Rewards – Ask a Nutritionist
- Take: Breaking the Sugar Habit online class for $25