Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids and adults alike. It gives us an excuse to dress up in fun costumes and enjoy some delicious treats.
The problem is that it can be tough to stay healthy around this candy-centric holiday. Even the best-laid plans can be hard to stick to, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t set some ground rules for your kids (and yourself) that will help you to fully enjoy the holiday without completely overlooking your plans to stay healthy.
Leading up to Halloween
To ensure you have a happy and healthy Halloween, there are a few steps that you should take in preparation. These tips will apply to any holiday that centers around food, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, or even birthday parties.
1. Pay More Attention to your Health Throughout the Month
Unfortunately, Halloween serves as a nightcap on the month for many of us. All month long, we spend the whole month anticipating the deluge of candy we’ll have around at the end of the month. We know that some unhealthy days are ahead of us and feel powerless to stop it — so we give in to temptation early.
Fight back against those feelings! Make sure that you are eating healthy and exercising regularly in the weeks leading up to Halloween, turning it into a “cheat day,” rather than an excuse to fall off the health wagon.
Make the weeks leading up to Halloween a shining example of how to live a healthy life and you’ll quickly find that you don’t feel so guilty helping yourself to some Halloween sweets!
2. Wait to Buy Halloween Candy
The negative impact of Halloween isn’t so much all of the candy that we consume on the day of, it’s the candy that we eat in the days and weeks leading up to and following Halloween.
There are a lot of enticing candy deals leading up to Halloween. This makes it all too easy to prepare for Halloween a few weeks early, and spend that time grazing on candy bars and chewy fruit candy.
3. Plan Ahead with Healthy Halloween Recipes
There are going to be plenty of candy options for your family to enjoy on Halloween. It might be a good idea to offset some of that candy with some healthier options to snack on.
We’ve collected some fun and spooky recipes from around the web:
- Healthy Halloween Cheese and Crackers
- Stuffed Bell Pepper Jack-o-Lanterns
- Samoa Caramel Apple Nachos
- Healthy Halloween Gelatin Gummies
- Low-Carb Peanut Butter Cups
These inventive ideas can be a great way to celebrate the day while encouraging healthier eating!
On Halloween Day
There are some simple steps that you can take on the day-of to ensure that you and your family can still enjoy the day without throwing health by the wayside.
1. Practice Balance Throughout the Day
Halloween is just one day, so gorging yourself on candy isn’t going to have a lasting negative impact on your personal health, but practicing balance on Halloween can keep things from falling off of the rails and serve as great practice for other high-pressure unhealthy situations.
If you are worried about what your kids are eating on Halloween, make sure to fit some healthy meals and snacks earlier in the day. Protein and fiber are very filling and can help to reduce sugar cravings later in the night. Try making foods Halloween-themed for added fun. Guacamole could stand-in for green slime. Hard-boiled eggs could be eyeballs. Then at night, you can rest assured that everyone’s eaten something beneficial for them while they wolf down some sweet treats.
Here is a list of a few foods that can help you to fight sugar cravings.
- Dark Chocolate
- Sweet Potatoes
- Whole Grains
Additionally, taking apple cider vinegar before eating candy can also help you avoid the spike in blood sugar.
2. Hand Out Healthy Halloween Candy Alternatives
To promote healthy living, you could hand out healthy candy alternatives instead. There are plenty of options that kids will love and parents will appreciate. You don’t have to worry about being the lame house on the block! Just make sure that any food items that you hand out are individually packaged and non-perishable, as there is a good chance they will be lost in their candy bags for a few weeks!
A few ideas include:
- Dried fruits
- Trail mix
- Mixed snack bags
- Organic juice boxes
- Toys (especially those that encourage exercise)
Halloween handouts can be a great way to introduce kids to healthy snacks that they will love!
3. Candy Isn’t the Only Way to Celebrate
Halloween doesn’t have to be all about candy.
There are other ways to take the focus off of the unhealthy aspects of the holiday. Try some of these fun activities with your family:
- Carve pumpkins
- Watch scary movies
- Visit a haunted house — or better yet — turn your home into a haunted house!
Some would say that it’s just as difficult to eat healthy in the days following Halloween as it is on the holiday. With all of that candy laying around, it doesn’t take much imagination to see why. Here are a few steps that you can take to ensure that Halloween doesn’t cause you to fall off of the healthy-living wagon.
1. Limit Leftovers
Be generous when handing out treats throughout the night so you don’t have leftovers. Our kids go out for a few hours and come home with half of a pillowcase full of candy. More than enough for the night.
If there is one way to make sure your Halloween is healthy, it’s to not let a night of celebration turn into weeks of unhealthy-living. After the holiday, limit the amount that your children can have to a couple of pieces every few days.
2. Keep It In Perspective
With all of that said, it’s important to keep Halloween in perspective. Yes, it’s a holiday that promotes unhealthy eating. Yes, children often collect far too much candy.
But it’s only one day of the year.
It’s not the end of the world if you or your family don’t adhere to your diet and indulge a little bit, so long as that single day doesn’t become a week-long candy binge. Also, try not to go overboard over post-Halloween candy sales this year.