| By Jamie Stolarz |
October. One of my favorite months for both the weather and the start of the holiday season.
With the holidays come many food events, starting with Halloween trick-or-treating and parties. But the holidays also bring the potential for lower-nutrient foods and weight gain.
How can you enjoy the holidays without the weigh-down from the higher-fat and higher-calorie foods?
Here are my top 5 tips for Halloween:
- Prioritize. Don’t deny yourself your favorite Halloween candy or dessert. Choose which ones will bring you the most satisfaction and politely decline the rest. For example, if you are a chocolate person, you likely will get more satisfaction from a Snickers than a Starburst. Leave behind the candies and desserts that are not an “A” in your book; if you taste a bite and don’t enjoy it, throw it away – it’s better in the trash than in your body.
- Portion control. We are blessed to be in a world of plenty, but this means we need to take charge of the portions ourselves. After prioritizing your desserts, portion them into containers or plastic bags in 100-calorie portions. Allow yourself a planned amount for the day. If there’s more to be enjoyed, save it for another day.
- Emphasis nutrient-rich foods. Place fruit in a bowl on the counter and position other healthy choices at eye level in the refrigerator. Place candy and desserts out of sight in an opaque container or on a hard-to-reach shelf. If you’re at a party, socialize away from the dessert table.
- Bring the better choice. Offer to bring the fruit or veggie platter to a party. Offer clementines or small bottled waters to trick-or-treaters to help nourish or hydrate them on their journey.
- Modify recipes. Trick yourself by incorporating a little treat into something healthier. Try adding canned pumpkin to whole-wheat pancake mix and then pouring them into ghosts shapes; top with nuts and dark chocolate chips and serve with a glass of milk. Or assemble a trail mix with nuts, whole-grain cereal, raisins and dark chocolate chips. For another tasty option, pour a snack-size bag of M&Ms over cottage cheese.
“Witch” tips will you try this Halloween? Any ideas to add? We’d love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s to a happy and healthier Halloween.
Jamie Stolarz, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE, is a registered dietitian and a native Floridian.