If you're like most parents, you're bracing yourself this week for the barrage of candy that is about to enter your home. You may even already have some waiting in the cupboard for the little ghouls and goblins that will come knocking on your door on the 31st.
For many of us, Halloween is a time when we're tempted to stray from our diets again and again… until the candy is finally gone. We rationalize — it's only once a year, right?
But the bigger problem is that as soon as the Halloween candy is gone, it's time for another holiday filled with overindulgence, and then another.
Halloween is like the kickoff party to a season of dietary derailment that includes turkey dinners, sugar cookies and a seemingly endless supply of cakes and pastries. If you let yourself get swept up in the festivities, it'll be months before you're truly back on track. By then, you could have gained another 15 pounds.
Instead, there are ways to minimize the amount of candy you eat and maximize every calorie you eat.
Here are some tips for keeping away from the candy this Halloween.
Offer toys instead: A 2003 Yale University study found that children are just as likely to choose toys as they are to choose candy on Halloween. So instead of chocolate bars or gummy bears, consider handing out tubs of Play Dough or playing cards.
Fill up on fiber: It's okay to have an occasional treat in the form of Halloween candy – as long as you don't let that one treat turn into five. Here's a little trick I like to use. When it's time for a treat, down a tablespoon of ground flaxseed with a glass of water. According to a study published in April in the journal Appetite, even a small dose of flaxseed significantly suppresses appetite and calorie consumption, so you'll be less hungry, and less likely to keep consuming those carbohydrate-dense candies.
Set a daily limit: One candy per day is a reasonable limit for both you and your children. And if you use the flaxseed trick, you're not likely to want much more than just that one little treat.
Healthy Bites appears on MyHealthNewsDaily on Wednesdays. Deborah Herlax Enos is a certified nutritionist and a health coach and weight loss expert in the Seattle area with more than 20 years of experience. Read more tips on her blog, Health in a Hurry!