This year is different, we all know that! With COVID-19 lurching at every corner, it is hard to know what's going to happen on Saturday. Will social-distanced trick-or-treaters stop by the house? Are we going to walk with the kids around the neighborhood to look at Halloween decorations, or maybe join a drive-through Halloween costume party? Will there be the usual bowl of candies in the office, for those of us who are not working from home? What to expect? What to allow without taking risks?
Many of us still haven't decided how to handle Halloween during this year's pandemic, but when we go to the grocery store, candies are piling up in the aisles, as if nothing was different. If you are like me, you will want to have some treats ready, just to be prepared... Yet, chances are, these dangerous reserves won't be touched by trick-or-treaters on Saturday night.
How we eat during the first holiday of the season will often determine how we handle Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. That’s why it is so important to start this season off right and set a good example for ourselves. If we don’t stop the Halloween candy madness this year, we know it will just slide downhill as the season goes on. And after months in lock-down and some unwanted extra pounds, honestly, who needs that?
10 Tips to Stay in Control this Halloween
Read 10 simple tips below and make this Halloween a different one in a positive way. A fun one, a sweet one, and yet, a memorable one for other reasons that the raging pandemic and uncertain election: this year, YOU will be in control, not the candy.
Halloween is on October 31st, not as soon as the bulk bags of Kit Kats and Milky Ways start popping up in the aisles. Wait until the very last minute to buy those bags of candy. Stop by the store on Halloween night. Chances are, you will get a discount, save money, and will-power! And since you didn’t buy your candy two weeks ago, you and your family didn’t get a chance to get into the bag and eat it all before the special night. So you won’t have to spend extra money to go buy more.
Be careful not to fall for the “buy 4 get the 5th bag free” trap though, or to buy your candy for next year because “it is such a great deal”. We all know where that would take you!
2/ Only Buy What You Need
You know very well that there won't be 280 kids visiting your house this year, so don't try to convince yourself that you need 10 pounds of candy. This year, there might be no children showing up at all. If you used 3 bags of candy last year, chances are 1 bag will be more than enough this year if you decide that you want to treat a few children and adults in your life. Now I know, you might be tempted to buy extra, “just in case”. If trick-or-treaters are actually in your neighborhood and have found ways to do so safely, no one wants to be the house that turns off the lights before everyone else, especially when those kids are already going through pretty tough times!
If you distribute candy, do so smartly throughout the night. If you leave a bowl of candy outside the door, don't fill it up right away. Most children know how to behave and will be respectful and not empty the full dish in their trick-or-treat bag. Kids want candy, yes, but they don’t need an armful of them from every household, and chances are they will be with their parents this year to monitor social distancing, which should help with moderation too.
Deep inside, we are all hoping for leftover candy after Halloween. But save ‘future you’ some trouble, and don’t buy more than you need. Candy isn’t helping your wellness goals, there’s no way around that.
3/ One Bag at a Time
Only empty one bag of candy, or even half of it, into your bowl. Not two, not three. One or less is enough. When it’s gone, you can open the next bag. If you want to offer a nice variety, then buy a variety pack in the first place. If you open all the bags at once and you have leftovers, we all know what will end up happening. But if leftovers are in an unopened bag, you can return it and get your money back and you won't be tempted to eat it! You can also donate extra candy to organizations such as Soldiers Angels for our troops.
On a side note, I think it might be better not to donate Halloween candy to food banks and shelters. People who are struggling to get around food are also trying to stay healthy. Yet, they are receiving sugar goods more often than not, so it might be better to donate canned vegetables, beans, and other healthy foods to them. I might be wrong though, I let you be the judge.
4/ Buy Candy you Don’t Like
It’s not mean, it’s not selfish, and it’s not because you don’t like a type of candy that others dislike it as well. There is no need for you to buy all of your favorite sweets and spend the entire night trying to resist eating them. Pick the treats that doesn’t tempt you and go with that! Kids generally love everything with sugar, and they won’t be too picky when it comes to Halloween candy. This is something to keep in mind when trying to manage your weight. The idea is not to “be good and strong,” it is to make sure your environment is not tempting you in the first place. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Make your life easier!
5/ Buys toys instead of Candy
Do you love all sweets, no matter what? You can’t resist anything with sugar? That’s okay too! In that case, buy toys for the kids instead. They will be thrilled! Plus, it’s a great opportunity to get creative with Halloween. You can buy stickers, key chains, glow sticks, silly putty, bouncy balls… Ask your children to help you come up with ideas! As long as you choose something appropriate and safe, anything that your kids approve of will work, and make your night much easier.
6/ Strike a Deal
OK, so you ended up getting rid of all the candies you had bought and are quite satisfied with yourself. Now your kids are coming home with a bag full of your favorite sweets, that their dear aunt gave them. Tough!!! You want to indulge? Of course! There are ways to make it controlled so that you don’t ruin your healthy streak.
In my house, I have a deal with my little one: she gives me all of her Kit-Kats (she is very generous!). I eat as many as I want on the night of Halloween, and after that, that’s it! So I usually eat them all at once (yep, that’s me!), feel a little nauseous but very content, and then go right back to my normal habits. That’s what works for me. Try to find a deal that works for you! Don’t try to implement a “no candy policy”, but don’t let yourself binge every day for two weeks either. Make a plan and stick to it. Find something that is an improvement compared to what you would usually do, so that you feel proud and good about yourself for the rest of the season. But make sure it’s also satisfying, because you want to look forward to Halloween, not dread it.
7/ Treat yourself at every single meal
The best way to NOT binge on junk is to feed your body and mind with delicious meals that not only provide you with all the nutrients you need, but also give you pleasure and leave you happy and satisfied. If you feel frustrated, you WILL eat the candy! I know, it is not always easy to eat well and delicious. Life is busy, the schedule is full. I know how it is! That’s why I have put together a delicious One-Week-No-Binge-Eating Meal Plan for you. Download Your 6-Day Halloween Sample Meal Plan now. It comes with a shopping list and a recipe book. Let me tell you, it’s a winner!
8/ Chew Gum
If your kids spend hours and hours sorting their candy, trading, negotiating, organizing, and the whole process is excruciating for you, chew some gum. It’s hard to eat anything while chewing gum, and you can try lots of sweet candy-like flavors that are sugar-free! Even if you have been eating delicious meals from my 6-Day Halloween Meal Plan, sometimes, you need more tricks!
9/ Throw Away as Much Candy as You Can
The easiest way to resist temptation is to eliminate temptation. So right after Halloween, get rid of as much candy as you can. I will let you negotiate with your own children and see what kind of deal you can strike.
Have your children hide the candies that have bee spared, or if the kids are also struggling with self-control, have a spouse hide them. Be upfront with what you are dealing with. Trying to fight your demons on your own is the best way to lose the battle. Putting pressure on yourself by going public and getting help from your loved ones is an amazing way to stick to your goals.
10/ Let your kid be the boss
You rule the house most of the time, right? So for once, let the kids be the boss of you! Once your kids know what you are trying to do (stay away from the candy) they will be more than happy to keep you in check. For once, they will be the ones saying “NO!” and they might really enjoy that shift of power. Plus, sometimes, they will see how hard it is to be the bad cop. They will realize that when they say no to you, you get pissed off, you try to negotiate, you insist… and they really wish they could give you candy to please you. It might be a great learning opportunity for them, depending on their age.
What is YOUR plan for Halloween?
Hopefully those tips are helpful. Now, what are you going to do with them? If you want this year to be a different one, not just because of the corona virus, you have to make a plan. Here is how you do it.
First, ask yourself what you are trying to achieve. Look back and think about what WILL happen if you let things go as usual. Then, think about what you would like to see happen ideally. You now have the worst case scenario and the best case scenario. Find a compromise somewhere in the middle and settle for that. Then, make a plan using the tips above as well as your own strategies, and talk to your family to make sure they help you stick to that middle-ground solution.
Make sure to DOWNLOAD your FREE 6-Day Halloween Anti-Cravings Meal Plan. It comes with 12 delicious and nutritious seasonal recipes, an itemized shopping list, and of course, your plan, day-by-day, to eliminate the guess work.
If you feel that you won’t be able to do this, reach out to me. You can use my CONTACT FORM or you can request a FREE Discovery Session if you want to know more about my approach and how it might help you reach your goals. Sometimes, it does not take much to get started on the right path.
The ultimate trick: #11
No matter what, there is one thing you should never forget. Whatever you love, don’t feel guilty for it! Whether you wish you could binge on chocolate or eat a bag of candy corn every day, whatever you wish is perfectly fine. It doesn’t mean you can indulge overtly, because it would keep you from reaching your wellness goals, but please, stop feeling bad for what you crave. There is no shame in loving unhealthy food, and for wanting a lot of it!