1) First things first - try to buy your candy at the last minute.
I know the impulse to buy a box of 100 mini treats when you first see them on the shelves or when they go on sale is hard to resist, but the longer the treats sit around the house the more of them you are likely to eat. It won't save you any money if you and your kids eat through a whole box before Halloween even arrives!
2) When the last minute finally does arrives and you must go get candy for all the little ghosts and goblins that will be arriving at your door - decide how much you THINK you will need and then buy HALF of that.
We often over-buy Halloween candy for the fear that we will run out and children will still be arriving at the door. My question to you is this, will you ruin a child's Halloween and leave them candy-less if your supply runs short? Probably not. There are likely many other houses on the block still giving out candy and most children get MORE than enough. I say, enjoy giving out what you have purchased and when it's gone, it's gone. My parents always taught us to trick-or-treat only at the most well lit houses, so turn off your front porch light and dim the living room lights and you are likely to get less disappointed children at your door. Better yet? Simply put a sign up on the front door saying 'Out of Candy.' Oh, and another way to outwit eating all that candy? It's a hard one, but buy the box of candy with the LEAST number of items you enjoy. If you don't even like the candy you buy it's a lot easier not to eat it!
Although no one wants to be known as THAT house on a kid's Halloween route, consider giving out alternative treats in the form of sugar-free gum, inexpensive toys, festive pens/pencils, etc. Your local dollar store can be a great place to stock-up on these items. A lot of kids (and parents) may actually appreciate something different in their treat sacks!
4) Earn that candy!
If you have kids and choose to take them trick-or-treating, walk with them from house to house instead of driving to get some exercise in. At least that way, if everyone eats 5 or 6 pieces of candy when you arrive home later, some of that extra energy will have already been used up walking! For those of us who don't have kids, you have a few options; (1) Invite some friends over and dress up as 80's aerobics stars and do some fun workout videos or yoga as you hand out candy in the evening to 'earn' some of those treats you may be sneaking from the bowl (2) Go out dancing on Halloween. There are often great parties or fundraising socials held on Halloween that give adults the excuse to go all-out with their costumes. Take advantage - dancing is a great workout and will keep you away from that candy bowl all night! (3) Make it a family affair! Tag along with a friend who has kids or offer to babysit your nieces/nephews and get out and enjoy a long walk with the kids as they collect candy.
If your kids come home with pillowcases full of candy, as my sister and I often did, have them sort through it and make a pile for the candy they like and one for candy they don't like or are willing to give away. You can collect this candy and take it to work or give it away. There are even some U.S. programs sponsored by dentists that will actually BUY back Halloween candy and send it in care packages to troops overseas (click HERE for the link) - a great way for kids to learn about sharing! Other options including freezing candy and using it in your holiday stockings, or breaking it out when you have guests over (works well for large bags of mini eggs at Easter too)!
Individually wrapped mini-sized treats are actually a great way to sample a variety of flavors and control your portions at the same time ... if you don't eat 7 at once. Keep in mind that although they are small, most Halloween treats are very calorie dense and made of primarily sugar. One mini treat can have anywhere from 50 - 80 calories, which when multiplied by a usual serving of 4 or 5 can be equivalent to eating a full sized chocolate bar or more. I bet most of us don't consume 1 or more full sized chocolate bars everyday during the rest of the year so don't let this be the exception. Allow yourself and your kids to choose only a few treats each day (ex. 1 or 2 treats in their lunch and 1 after supper or for an evening snack). This way no one feels sick from days and days of gorging on sugar and you won't end up with an expensive trip to the dentist!
7) Out of sight, out of mind.
It's true that putting out a bowl of fruit on the table makes us more likely to grab it as a snack, but the opposite rule applies here. Store that candy away in an inconvenient place such as down in the basement, deep in the freezer, or up in a high cupboard. Only take out what you are going to eat at that moment and leave the rest put away. Do NOT eat directly from the bowl! This makes it easier to stop after having your 1 or 2 treats and will ensure that the kids don't find and eat the entire bag!
Hopefully, the above ideas will help you find a way to outwit those Halloween temptations, keep the enjoyment in the holiday, and prevent the guilt that often comes with too tight November pants! Remember, moderation is a simple word but one of the hardest things to achieve nutritionally. Do what works to keep you and your family healthy! Please feel free to share any other witty tips you might have in the comments section below!
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