Ah Halloween – when hordes of children in darling or dreadful disguise hit the sidewalks in search of treats. When the last trickster scares up a treat, you’ll turn off your porch light and retreat inside – with more candy than you started with.
As a parent, you’re charged with preventing a scene at your house as your little goblins tear open another row of Smarties and one more Reese’s with wild, sugared abandon. But if you don’t want them overindulging, you certainly don’t want to overdo it, either. You’re the grown-up – you don’t have to eat it all. Consider these tips for lightening your load if Halloween candy continues to whisper sweet nothings into your ear:
- Buy candy you don’t like. Start where you shop for Halloween candy. If you love chocolates, buy gummy treats. If you love suckers, buy licorice. Bring home something you’re not fond of and you’ll be less likely to pilfer from the stash. And don’t buy it too early. By waiting, it’s possible the most enticing choices will already have been ripped from the shelves, making your selection even less tempting.
- Stick it to your sweet tooth. When you feel your hand creeping toward the candy bowl, grab a piece of gum instead. Sugarless gum can satisfy your sweet-tooth craving without doing the same damage as a handful of miniature Snickers.
- Give it away. Your kids don’t have to eat it all, either. Have them choose a reasonable amount to keep, and give the rest away. You can bring it to work and leave it in a common space where everyone can help put a dent in it. If your coworkers absolutely don’t want one more Tootsie Roll in their midst, then really give it away – as in, overseas away. Yes, there really is a Halloween candy buyback program that supports Operation Gratitude. Better their barracks than yours.
- Bust a move. Oh, how you love those one-bite Milkyways. So, satisfy your cravings and just move a little more. At work, take more breaks to stretch and walk, and take the stairs instead of the elevator. At home, skip the half-hour sitcom for something else that gets your blood pumping, such as sit-ups or a couple of laps around the block with (or without) the dog. Even folding laundry can burn some of those Milkyway calories – as long as you don’t do it sitting down.
- Cut yourself a deal. So you want that Hershey’s bar and the candy corn, too? Fine. Pair them with an apple. Let yourself have your treat, without the trick of wanting more. You don’t have to feel deprived, and you can give yourself points for not going whole-hog on the sugar. If an apple isn’t your thing, substitute what is: a big glass of water or a cup of hot tea, some carrot sticks, a banana or string cheese.
- Go to the dark side. Dark chocolate – ideally, chocolate with a 70 percent or greater cocoa content – has been shown in numerous studies to be beneficial to your health. Moderation applies.
- Give yourself a break. The KitKat variety may be delicious, but you deserve to give yourself a break when it comes to your emotional health. Most of us love a sweet treat, but some of us struggle with the whole moderation thing. Ease up on the guilt by doing your best to find balance between sweet treats and the foods that nourish your body. Maintain a healthy diet (you knew this was coming, right?) that includes plenty of vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, fresh fruits, and lean meats and fish, while taking pleasure in the occasional sweet treat.