Few days on the calendar strike more fear in the heart than Halloween. And we’re not even talking about the houses of horror, haunted hayrides and people dressed like Freddy Krueger standing at our front door. No, Halloween presents a scary scenario for anybody on a weight loss program, because everywhere you’ll look the next few days, you’ll see candy and treats. And even when the candles in the jack-o-lanterns finally flicker out, the candy may still be around, thanks to enterprising trick-or-treaters who have stockpiled the stuff sufficiently to last to Christmas.
What’s a slimming body to do? Follow The Leaf’s 10-point Halloween Survival Guide. Each of the tips outlined below is designed to help you enjoy the holiday without going overboard with temptation.
1. Wait until October 31st to buy your trick-or-treat candy.
That way, you won’t hear voices calling from the kitchen cabinets saying, “Come on, just one choco-caramel bar won’t kill you!” Worried about not being able to find candy at such a late date? Seriously, have you been to a store lately? Everybody sells Halloween candy now. If for some reason you can’t find sweets, see point 2 below.
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2. Don’t give out candy.
We’ve found that the trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood love getting things beside candy: Try handing out pretzels, pencils. coins, water bottles or even tooth brushes. You’ll be amazed at the reception they get. Having a Halloween party? Try these 13 Healthy Halloween Recipes instead of the typical sweet treats.
3. Buy candy you don’t like.
It’s human nature to buy the kind of candy you’d like to eat. But if you have leftovers because you bought too much or too few kids showed up at your door, you’ll be staring at a big bowl of temptation. So if you love chocolate, get lollipops. Are you crazy for chewy or sour things but don’t care about chocolate? Then consider buying chocolate bars. And if you can, stay away from these Not-So-Sweet Halloween Candies to Avoid.
4. Go out with your kids, or walk around the neighborhood.
Turn trick-or-treat into a calorie-burning stroll. You can walk around the neighborhood to get some exercise, carrying the candy with you to hand out to the little goblins. Or, if you’re with your own kids, enjoy the crisp air and leave the candy for visitors on your stoop.
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5. Send some candy to the troops.
Your kids will probably have so much candy that they won’t even want to eat it all. So consider sending some it as a care package to American troops. Operation Gratitude collects candy to use to prepare gifts for soldiers and sailors. Learn more about where to send your loot here.
6. Sell it to your dentist.
Many dentists now “buy” back candy by offering prizes or reduced fees on services to people who hand over their treats. Consider saving a small portion of the haul, then giving your dentist the rest. Bonus: Some of that candy you sell back may end up in the hands of soldiers. Find a participating dentist near you by clicking here.
7. Don’t go out hungry.
Trick-or-treating, or going to Halloween parties, is a lot like going grocery shopping. If you do it when you’re hungry, it’s much easier to go overboard. Have a salad or small meal before you go out so that you feel satisfied. That way you’ll be much less likely to give in to temptation.
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8. Treat yourself.
Look, kids can’t have all the fun, and part of any successful weight loss program is balance. If you’re following a Nutrisystem plan, you can have up to 100 calories worth of “extras” in order to satisfy your sweet tooth. Feel like having a Snickers Fun Size? Go for it: you’ll be eating 80 calories. Better yet, check out some of these sweet swaps for typical Halloween hankerings.
9. Think small pieces.
Everybody wants to be the house that draws the big crowds by giving out king size candy bars. But you’re not doing anybody any favors by giving out huge pieces of candy. For most kids, the fun of the Halloween lies in the hunt, so be sure to hand out the small stuff. Their parents will thank you.
10. Read the labels.
You may think you’re doing everyone a favor by giving out gummy treats called fruit snacks, but be sure to read ingredient labels should you decide to go that route and look for the total amount of sugars such things deliver. One serving could pack more sugar than a candy bar.