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Halloween Diet Tips: Enjoy Spooky Season Without Ghosting Your Health

Halloween is a scary time for diet culture to sneak in. Fortunately, a few health tips can help you find more treats than tricks this holiday season.

Halloween Diet Tips: Enjoy Spooky Season Without Ghosting Your Health

Halloween can be a minefield for many people, especially those afraid of “ghosting” their health goals. Instead of obsessing over quantity, calories, or the timing of meals, keeping a few Halloween diet tips in mind will allow you to fully enjoy the holiday without going overboard on sweet treats. 

Health tips for Halloween can help guide and inform your goals without encouraging restriction or putting a moratorium on fun and festivity. Continue reading for Halloween health tips to help you have a guilt-free spooky season. 

Why Are Halloween Health Tips Important?

Like ghosts and ghouls, diet culture often comes out to haunt during Halloween. The phrase “diet culture” means many different things to many people, but essentially describes the cultural phenomenon where being thin is praised over other markers of wellness. 

In other words, it’s the idea that weight loss should be pursued at all costs, even if other aspects of health suffer. Scary, right? 

Halloween health tips are important because they can help you avoid thinking about a “thin ideal” over the holidays and allow you to be present in the festivities. Weight gain is possible over October and the following months, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world! In fact, it’s normal for weight to fluctuate during different times of the year, or even different times of the day. 

Learning how to combat an “all-or-nothing” mindset can help you enjoy Halloween parties and plans more than ever before.

Now, you don’t have to throw all caution to the wind! It’s okay to enjoy Halloween treats, but eating excessive candy or treats truly adds up over time. Overindulging may snowball during the holiday season into an “oh, well” mindset and leave you thinking, “I’ll get back on track during the New Year.” In reality, it will be much harder to break bad habits gained over Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas when the New Year rolls around. 

The solution? Adopting a healthy mindset now, and finding joy in a well-balanced diet— one that allows for a few holiday treats here and there to satisfy your sweet tooth without taking candy consumption to the extreme. 

Setting & Sticking to Goals

Feel like you’re lost in a corn maze with no way out regarding goals? These three steps can help you get clear on how to promote progress during the pumpkin-carving season. 

Remember Your “Why” 

Tapping into your underlying purpose can help prime you for better behaviors. This practice may sound complicated, but can be as simple as asking yourself, “What is my ‘why?’” 

Answering this question may make you realize your weight loss journey is about much more than being thin. Maybe it’s actually about feeling your best and protecting yourself from diseases down the line. 

Finding out the “why” behind your actions can help motivate you to make the best decisions for balancing your physical and mental health, particularly regarding food-centric holidays like Halloween. 

Plan Ahead

As the proverb goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In other words, a little preparation or precaution goes a long way! Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic potion to take care of daily tasks, but a bit of strategic effort in the right places can make all the difference. 

Instead of sidelining your weight loss goals during the fall holidays, plan ahead by deciding your goals for the holidays. Questions to consider include:

•Do you want to focus on family gatherings and not worry about calories? 

•Do you want to stick to healthy guidelines during celebrations to feel your best?

•Do you want to show your friends that healthy eating can be delicious and fun?

Deciding ahead of time can help you understand how you want to be present at an event. 

As a note, even if you don’t necessarily have a set meal preparation method during other times of year, kicking meal prep into full gear from September to December can help to manage holiday stress. Instead of running from a messy kitchen to festivities, meal prep may allow you to soak up meaningful memories between events. Don’t forget that meal delivery plans—like bistroMD—are also an option for busy seasons of life. 

Commit with an Accountability Partner

When it comes to healthy eating and habits, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to do it alone. Having an accountability partner or buddy can help inspire you to reach new heights. Often, this person has similar goals, but can also be a support person who’s simply invested in seeing you achieve your goals or dreams. 

Leaning on this person can provide advice, guidance, and encouragement when you need it most. This type of support can be especially valuable over holidays like Halloween when temptations make it more difficult to stay accountable on your own for making healthy choices. 

Enjoying Healthier Treat Alternatives

Interested in trying healthier treats this year? The following ideas are both festive and health-focused. 

Have Homemade Treats

Making “DIY” versions of your favorite sweet treats can often be a healthier way to create festive favorites. For example, making homemade peanut butter cups only requires three simple items (which you probably have on hand) and allows you to have better control over ingredients and portion size. 

Keep in mind that some classrooms don’t allow homemade goods at Halloween parties. However, homemade foods may be perfect for parties among family and friends. 

Incorporate Seasonal Ingredients

Another great way to stay rooted in your health goals over Halloween is to focus on seasonal ingredients. Pumpkins and pumpkin seeds are an obvious winner for fall recipes, but sweeter seasonal ingredients like apples, pears, sweet potatoes, or pomegranates can also make some treats more nutrient-dense.

Offer Single-Serving Snacks Instead

Healthy snacks can be a fun departure from Halloween candy for both the giver and the receiver. Many snacks are available in single-serve or individual pouches, perfect for handing out to trick-or-treaters instead of candy. 

A couple of ideas for single-serve, healthy Halloween treats include: 

• Animal-shaped crackers or graham crackers
• Applesauce pouches 
• Fruit snacks or leathers made with 100% fruit 
• Popcorn
• Pretzels 
• Raisins 
• Trail mix
• Sugar-free gum packs 
• Whole-grain cheddar-flavored crackers

If you’re still interested in classic candy options, comparing and contrasting Halloween candies based on your health goals is important before buying. 

Often, single-size, “fun-sized,” or “mini” size candies are lower in calories than their large-size counterparts (usually 100 calories or under). Plus, single-serving snacks and candies can help practice portion control, particularly if you do opt for sugary candies like candy corn. 

Consider Non-Candy Options

Instead of focusing on the food, you can center your festivities around other activities. For example, you could host a party where kids and adults alike can decorate trick-or-treat bags instead of conversing around cakes, cookies, and candies.

There’s also no rule that you must offer trick-or-treaters candy. Instead, hand out exciting non-candy options that encourage play or learning, such as:

• Bookmarks 
• Bouncy balls 
• Bubbles 
• Crayons or themed pencils 
• Fidget toys 
• Glow sticks, necklaces, or bracelets 
• Hair scrunchies
• Kazoos 
• Lip balm 
• Mini erasers or pencil toppers 
• Silly straws
• Slinkies 
• Spider rings
• Stencils 
• Stickers 
• Temporary tattoos 
• Vampire teeth/fangs 

Navigating Halloween Celebrations

Need tips for handling a Halloween party? Here are a few ways you can gear up for each event during the week of Halloween. 

Don’t Skip Meals 

It may sound counterintuitive, but skipping meals can actually cause weight gain in the long run. This is especially true on Halloween when skipping meals or snacks can contribute to a ravenous or out-of-control feeling once you arrive at a party. Ultimately, this can cause you to overeat (and even feel physically sick).

Even just eating a balanced snack as you head out the door can help stave off sugar cravings later on! It’s especially important not to skip breakfast in the morning since your A.M. meal can set the tone for the day. Foods and meals high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats can help you feel full and fueled for the festivities.

Snack on Protein Between Activities

Speaking of protein, having a high-protein snack between activities may be just what you need to keep hunger at ease! Beyond helping you stay fueled, protein foods do an excellent job of curbing cravings and balancing blood sugar. 

Instead of overindulging on candy during Halloween, try having a high-protein snack between meals. Alternatively, if you’re a grazer, you can make every other snack or treat one that’s high in protein. 

Beware of Sweetened Beverages

Liquid calories may be a sneaky source of added sugars. Festive cocktails, punches, and other mixed drinks can be delicious, but they may be high in sweeteners sure to cause an impending sugar “crash.” For some adults, excessive alcohol consumption is also an issue on Halloween, and it can be easy to drink too much when the drinks look exciting. 

As a general rule, moderating alcohol intake is recommended if you do choose to drink. When it comes to other drinks, some healthy yet festive options include: 

• Apple cider 
• Cranberry, black cherry, or pomegranate-based juice 
• Green drinks made with spirulina powder 
• Green or pumpkin smoothies 
• “Witches brew” (orange or lime flavored frozen yogurt in juice or milk) 
• 100% juice, made with oranges and/or carrots 

Be Mindful of Food Allergies

If you’re hosting or attending an inclusive gathering, it’s crucial to be mindful of guests with food allergies. The Academy of Dietetics and the Food Allergy Research & Education organization have many resources for keeping Halloween healthy for all attendees. 

Simple tactics, like keeping certain foods in a separate bowl or reading an ingredients label, can make Halloween safer for everyone. 

Keep Company at the Center

Another tip, although it may sound simple, is just to focus on the company or activities to enjoy the celebration. Connecting with others can make an event truly meaningful and can help you focus on the festivity of it all rather than the food. 

Keeping Active During Spooky Season

Searching for ways to stay active during Halloween? Try these tips for sneaking some physical activity in. 

Walk It Off While Enjoying Fall Festivities 

Interestingly, a lot of fun fall festivities naturally involve walking. Hit your step goal by participating in the following activities: 

• Apple picking 
• Corn maze 
• Picking out pumpkins in a pumpkin patch 
• Trick or treating
• Walking through a haunted house

Many gyms or fitness centers offer themed workouts around Halloween, such as a session set to “Monster Mash” or other spooky tunes. 

Fun & Active Party Games 

Other fall crafts and games can also help you stay active during Halloween time, such as: 

• Carving and decorating pumpkins 
• Dunking for apples
• Making Halloween drawings or murals with sidewalk chalk 
• Pin the heart on the scarecrow
• “Zombie” tag 

Getting Back On Track

Wondering what to do in the case of overindulgence? 

Don’t Dwell on Diet “Mistakes”

Dwelling on missteps during your weight loss or health journey may make you feel like all hope is lost. However, it’s often healthier to move on from mistakes instead of harboring hatred against yourself— although this is easier said than done. 

If you’re having difficulty getting out of your current mindset, you may find it encouraging to meet with a non-diet or eating disorder dietitian for assistance in unlearning unhelpful (and even harmful) diet practices. They can help you become your best friend instead of your worst enemy. 

Give Yourself Grace & Practice Gratitude

What better time than the period between Halloween and Thanksgiving to practice gratitude and forgiveness? 

Start the thankful season off by forgiving yourself for getting off track. Then, give gratitude to your body for its resilience and all it does for you, even if the image in the mirror isn’t living up to the ideal in your mind at the moment. 

Gratitude or guided meditations may be helpful for getting into the right brain space. 

Remember, It’s Just A Season 

The saying “it’s just a season,” meaning this phase won’t last forever, also applies to the Halloween season. As mentioned above, this time of year is focused on eating and food often. 

If you gain weight or lose sight of your goals, it’s helpful to remember that this season won’t last forever, and intentionally indulging can actually be part of participating in the festivities fully. To put it in perspective, Halloween is just 1/365 of the year! 

It’s worth noting that you also don’t have to wait for this season to pass to recommit to healthy habits. Even if you’ve strayed from your initial wellness goals for a day (or even a week or month), you can trust yourself and your body to get back on track at any time you choose to, then decide to put your energy towards those efforts. 

Halloween Diet Tips: That’s a Wrap!

There are many ways to include spooky or sweet treats in a healthy diet, especially around the holidays. Coming up with a clear plan for celebrations (and a game plan for when things go awry) can help ease the sweet tooth stress. 

Fortunately, fun themes can take the party's focus off of food and focus it around festivity, friends, and family. 

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