Tips for a Happy, Healthy Halloween | Health beat
The Halloween season can be a fun time for both children and adults. It’s filled with exciting events, costumes, decorations and, of course, goodies.
Sugary snacks are plentiful at this time of year. Workplaces, grocery stores, and gatherings are filled with sweet offerings and candy left over from trick or treating.
While this can be enjoyable, it can also be stressful for those trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
So is it possible to have a healthier Halloween? Absolutely.
Here are some tips you can try to create a healthier Halloween experience this year.
Eat balanced meals
Don’t skip meals or eat very little during the day to save calories for extra sweets later in the day. This strategy usually backfires. Limiting your food intake during the day can make you feel tired and moody. It can also cause you to accidentally overeat later in the day.
Make sure you eat regular, balanced meals throughout the day.
Add nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to meals to normalize your blood sugar and keep your energy levels more constant. And drink plenty of decaffeinated, unsweetened liquids like water to stay hydrated before enjoying your big event.
Get enough sleep
Bad sleeping habits can lead to an unbalanced diet. If you regularly get less than seven hours of sleep a night, the hormones that regulate your appetite can change and make you feel hungrier than you really are.
Research shows that when we are very tired we tend to reach for candy or process highly processed foods more often. This is because these food sources tend to convert to energy faster than more nutritious foods like products or whole grains.
Adjust to more normal eating habits by creating a regular sleep routine to promote better quality sleep. It can be helpful to discuss this with your doctor if you are not sure where to start.
It is true that candy and other sweets do not offer much nutritional value. But they taste good and are fun to eat, especially during Halloween events.
If you have strict rules about candy or treats, it can help to loosen them up a bit.
Studies show that people who consider sweets to be banned foods actually tend to overeat them when they have access to them. This can lead a person to smuggle treats and other foods – and then feel ashamed or guilty about eating them.
By providing regular access to goodies, you can find that they are less exciting. This can make you less tempted to overeat them, or it can prevent you from overeating. This also applies to children.
Not there yet, for yourself or for the children?
Try this exercise: Ask children how sweets feel on their mind and body after they are eaten. Then ask them how this compares to consuming products.
Do you have more or less energy? Do you even feel sick? What else do you notice? These questions may lead to the conclusion that while treats are tasty, they don’t feel good when overeating.
Over time, this can lead to healthier relationships with all foods and promote nutrition and health.
Of course, there are always alternatives to candy if you want. Here are some ideas for candy alternatives that you could trick or treat:
- Glow sticks
- Sticker books
- Temporary tattoos
- Scary necklaces, rings or headbands
- Vegetable seed packets
- Mini packs of pretzels or whole grain crackers
- Products such as clementines, apples or mini pumpkins
- Boxes or bags of 100% juice
- Squeezable yoghurt tubes
- Mini granola bars
If you’re not part of the trick or treating but are attending a gathering, consider bringing a fun Halloween dish like this:
- Ghost bananas. Halve a banana and add chocolate chips for the eyes.
- Vegetable skeletons. Use celery and carrot sticks to make the skeleton. Serve with dip or hummus in a cauldron or saucepan next to the vegetables.
- A fruit cemetery. Arrange a variety of fruits in a creepy scene.
- Vegetable soups or chilli with ghost chips. Cut whole grain or corn tortillas into creepy shapes and bake them to serve with soups.
- Homemade vegetable pizza. Cut the vegetables or cheese into shapes like witch hats, ghosts, or jack-o’-lanterns.
- Homemade trail mixes. Use dried fruit, pretzels or popcorn, nuts, and small amounts of orange-black pieces of candy.
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