The holiday season tests our will power like few other times of the year, tempting us with sugary candies and sweet baked goods and begging us to take a break from our healthy eating habits.
But we don’t have to listen!
Halloween, in particular, encourages candy consumption, and trick-or-treating is a favorite pastime for children looking to stock up on chocolate bars and other sweets. Instead of encouraging this activity and “going with the flow,” we need to become role models during this season and show our children that there are other options!
For instance, pretzels provide a much healthier alternative to hand out to trick-or-treaters, and you can also get creative by giving out gifts such as stickers, pencils, Play-Doh, etc.
When it comes to your own children, it’s OK if they have a couple candy bars throughout the holiday season. Problems occur whenever they binge-eat sweets and treats, ruining their appetite and gaining no nutritional value in the process. Instead of completely eliminating their candy intake, cut it back and set limits.
My wife, Lori, was fond of this technique when the girls were growing up: Let them keep four or five candy bars of their choice out of their bag or basket, then “buy” the rest of the candy from them. Once you give them $5 or $10 for their loot, take them to a toy store of their preference and allow them to treat themselves. Then, take the uneaten candy and donate it to those who truly need it.
If you still need a little sweets boost after being surrounded all day by Halloween candy sales and the sounds of trick-or-treaters, try a healthier option, such as sugar-free jell-o, a small portion of plain dark chocolate, or a dark-chocolate-covered strawberry or banana. All of these choices are delicious and sweet, but they won’t cause you to sacrifice your good eating habits!
As with anything else, keep your goals in mind this Halloween. Is a candy bar more important than your journey toward optimal health? If you prioritize what’s most important to you and keep your health goals at the forefront, you’ll have no problem this holiday season.