How to handle Halloween like a nutritionist
As hopefully all of you know by now, I’m not about giving up your favorite foods, but finding ways to mindfully include them in moderation. That means enjoying some of your favorite Halloween treats, but being mindful about your splurges. One of the things I encourage my clients to do is to know why they’re eating. Some questions you might ask yourself: Am I hungry? Am I satisfied? Does this taste awesome? Is this worth it? Does this make me feel good? Does this support my goals? Answering these questions and connecting to how food makes you feel is key to indulging in a mindful way.
So let’s talk about what this looks like on Halloween and how you might handle this candy-centric holiday.
Don’t overly restrict yourself. This almost always backfires, and there’s no reason to put such a large strain on your willpower. When something is totally off limits, you think about it more, and the mental space this takes up is not only distracting, but can lead to overdoing it. You might apply the above questions and find one or two pieces that taste 100% awesome and worth it to you. After one or two pieces, you might ask yourself if you’re satisfied or if you want more. Dig deep and ask yourself how you feel if you forage through the entire contents of the bag. How is this serving you? Go through all the questions and see where this leads you.
Shift your mindset and remind yourself that you can have candy any time of the year. Setting aside candy corns, there is nothing special about Halloween candy. If you want a Reese’s peanut butter cup, it’s available year-round at every drugstore. When you remove the seasonal aspect and create a mindset of abundance rather than “get it before it’s gone,” it can promote better control over your food environment.
Consider other ways you might satisfy your sweet tooth. There are many options available to you that might be healthier than the bag of candy that remains after the trick-or-treaters have gone. I shared a few of my favorite sweets recently. Perhaps one of these lower sugar options would do the trick.
Think about what to do with the extra candy. You could stash it in the freezer, which ensures you’re deliberate about eating it since you’d have to take out something to let it thaw out a little first. Or you could stash it in a cabinet where it’s less obvious, and therefore less tempting. You could also package it up into smaller goodie bags and send it off to a teacher, a co-worker, a doorman, a handyman, or someone else who might appreciate the gesture.
If you do overdo it, don’t beat yourself up. There have been many times I’ve gotten carried away with food! It’s totally normal and an excessive night doesn’t make or break anyone. It’s the consistent day-to-day healthy habits that count! If your inner talk is negative or distracting, make sure you have the support you need to cope with these unpleasant feelings. Your emotional health is a huge part of your overall wellness so it’s important to develop tools to make peace with yourself, even if this doesn’t come naturally.
Don’t turn a slip up into a downward spiral. I like to think of it this way: If you drop your phone and the screen cracks, you don’t hurl it across the room or treat it carelessly with no concern of additional damage. You treat it with extra care from then on! Think about treating your body with care and concern as well. If you got a little carried away with the candy, just take the next opportunity to feed your body well, connecting to those foods that make you feel energetic, satisfied, and nourished.