The kids are dressing up, lining the streets, and getting ready for their trick-or-treat. Adults however may be hoping to have lots of candy left over, or worried about having any candy left in the house after tonight’s activities. Diet culture, food rules, and an imbalance in lifestyles have far too many people feeling uncomfortable around holidays, and the kickoff is often with the Halloween bowl of candy. However, adults can enjoy Halloween treats just as much as kids without tricking themselves into binge eating or restricting every piece by welcoming a few tips that promote balance and moderation. These approaches allow everyone to indulge in festive treats while maintaining a healthy relationship with food. Here are some tricks to enjoying treats: 1. Mindful Eating: Practicing mindful eating involves being fully present and aware of the eating experience. It’s tasting all the flavors, noticing the textures, and temperatures. It’s smelling the different scents and hearing how it sounds to open the food, take the bites, and just enjoy. It sounds easy, but anyone who’s eaten out of a bag or large bowl has at least once gone to grab one more bite to find the bag or bowl…empty! This trick invites us to savor each bite, yes, each bite! Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues and choose treats that genuinely bring enjoyment. By focusing on the quality and satisfaction of the treats, rather than mindlessly consuming large quantities, we can avoid getting tricked into eating more than we want or foods we don’t really love. 2. Portion Control: Controlling portion sizes is crucial for maintaining balance during Halloween. Instead of mindlessly snacking from a bag or large bowl of candy like mentioned above, the trick here is portioning out what you want to eat. This helps create a sense of control and makes you decide before you start treating exactly how much and what you will be eating. 3. Balanced Meals: Yes, just like you have heard about your whole life, prioritizing balanced meals throughout the day can help prevent getting tricked into eating too many Halloween treats. By ensuring that meals include a combination of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and carbohydrates, we can feel satisfied and less likely to overeat later. Why? Because we never let ourselves get so hungry, we start to just grab whatever. When we are fueling our bodies and keeping them nourished, we just aren’t as hungry and certainly aren’t craving sweets as we would if we were “dieting.”
4. Active Lifestyle: Incorporating physical activity into daily routines is our trick to maintain balance during Halloween and all holidays. Engaging in regular exercise not only helps burn off excess calories but also promotes overall well-being. The trick here is just moving every day on purpose, going for a walk on purpose, dancing on purpose, taking a class, or whatever you like, but you must get moving. If you have a great sense of well-being, you won’t be tricked into eating more candy than you want, and if you do, you won’t stress about it because you are active and you know one day of extra candy won’t make or break you. 5. Mindset Shift: This is probably the best trick of all, shifting the mindset around Halloween and holiday treats is essential for finding balance. Instead of saying, “Candy is bad,” why can’t we say, “Candy is for holidays and fun.” This trick of shifting the mindset reduces the likelihood of feeling deprived or guilty, which can lead to binge eating or restriction, and increases the likelihood that you will savor your treats because you are in the mindset that you are celebrating and having fun.
Life is short. We never know how many holidays or Halloweens we get. What we do know, is a chance to choose how we approach foods and treats that are supposed to make the day fun and memorable. There’s a reason kids love Halloween, imagine if they said, “Ugh, I can’t trick or treat, candy is so bad for you, it will make you fat!” We let kids have a fun and magical day, don’t you deserve that too? Don’t trick yourself out of a great day!
Director of The Wellness Center