Halloween can be a difficult time of year for anyone who is working on their health and trying to avoid sweets and unwanted weight gain. But, just because you don’t want to binge on candy for the whole month of October, doesn’t mean you have to hate Halloween. Below are some tips we wanted to share for employers and individuals to help make both your office and your home healthier during Halloween! Implementing some of these ideas will help you to stay in the driver’s seat of your health while still enjoying the fun of the holiday and helping those around you to do the same!
1. Consider holding a “Candy Drop” at work during the month of October. You can do this by placing boxes at the main entrances of your office for employees to bring in and drop off any extra candy they have sitting around their houses. These are especially helpful the few days after Halloween for individuals to bring their leftover candy from trick-or-treaters instead of keeping it at home to mindlessly munch on. You can consider donating the boxes of candy to women and children shelters, refugees, homeless shelters, or even dental offices that “buy back” the candy from you.
2. Purchase non-candy items to hand out to trick-or-treaters. Some ideas include bubbles, stickers, pencils, eyeballs, spider rings, Dracula teeth, mini water bottles or bouncy balls. Kids will still love these but they won’t be adding any unneeded sugar to their bags, plus than you don’t have to deal with the extra candy sitting around your house afterwards. And if you have leftovers, you can save them for the next year!
3. Eat a healthy meal first! Before going trick-or-treating with your kids or attending a Halloween party, fill up on a nutritious meal to help curb your cravings for sugary treats. This can include something like a lean protein source, a carb source with a lot of fiber that is filling (such as beans), and a lot of vegetables!
4. If you really want a treat, choose healthier options. If you plan to give out candy or to have some around to enjoy yourself, make sure to pick out something that is healthier. Some things to consider would be candy with nuts can be more filling, avoiding unnatural sugars that cause cravings such as high fructose corn syrup, and choosing dark chocolates over milk chocolate. There are also many sweet treats that don’t have sugar added such as some fruit leathers, fruit snacks, or even mini packages of apple slices or grapes.
5. Surround yourself with healthy options. If you are a snacker, or if there are places around your home or office with bowls of candy, swap them out instead for bowls of nuts or dried fruit. These are more filling and won’t cause you to keep craving the candy that you want to go back to get seconds of. You can also have vegetable trays or platters with crackers and dips around that can be a little more filling and satisfying than the typical bowls of Halloween candy that most people have.
6. Set a limit. You can create a limit for yourself or for your children when it comes to how much sugar you are consuming. Try limiting it to a few pieces a day and putting it away where it is out of sight and mind. You might also find it useful to keep half of the candy that your kids bring home, while donating the rest to a shelter or dental office.
7. Create healthy traditions. Not all Halloween related traditions have to involve candy. Try implementing new traditions for your friends and family that help to create memories during without so much sugar. Some ideas could be going to a corn maze, going for a hay ride, carving pumpkins, going for hikes to see the fall leaves, running a Halloween themed race, or watching a scary movie (with healthy snacks instead of bowls of candy).
8. Get a lot of walking in. If you plan to go out trick-or-treating with your family, choose areas that are safe and that will provide a lot of walking. Any extra exercise you and your kids get will be helpful with the high amounts of sugar they will be bringing home. Find neighborhoods with houses that are further apart, choose to walk instead of driving from different areas, and encourage your kids to do more movement during the day (such as going to a park) so that they are not sitting all day and then loading up on candy in the evening. The same is true for anyone sitting at the office all day!
9. Stay hydrated. Make sure to drink lots of water and stay hydrated throughout the day so that you don’t confuse your internal thirst signals with sugar cravings. Bring water for your kids or yourself if you’re trick-or-treating and help everyone to stay full so that they don’t eat as much sugar. This is also helpful if you’re attending a Halloween party that you know will have a lot of sweet temptations at.