Fall is in full swing, with the leaves turning golden and the weather cooling down. But there’s something scary lurking around the corner. October is often a difficult time for anyone who “loves” sweets, but doesn’t love what it does to their health and weight goals. Grocery stores become frightful places, with aisles of goodies tempting us and somehow ending up in our shopping carts. The powerful pull of sugar is well-known among food manufacturers (read about the recently revealed sugar industry cover-up in my next post). That’s why “the season of treating” can be so detrimental to our health. The season starts weeks before Halloween and can last all the way to Valentine’s Day! Many people gain 5 to 10 pounds and feel heavier, moodier and more lethargic.
The great news is, health coaching can help you take control! Because if you learn how food personally affects your mood, your weight, your health, and a whole list of symptoms, you can also learn how to control your relationship with food and curb your cravings. Even better, I can provide you with personalized strategies for making better choices over the next few months, so you avoid the typical pitfalls before they even start.
Halloween doesn’t have to be “scary” this year! Below, see important tips, recipes and the latest report on the harmful effects of sugar.
Curbing the Candy Cravings
While sugar is a powerful “drug” (more on that in my next post), it’s not just the colorful treats that tempt us. Halloween may hold loving memories for many of us, of our own childhood costumes and candy collecting, as well as those of our children dressing up for trick-or-treating and their squeals of delight as they came home with pillowcases filled with candy.
But it’s not all fun and games. Sugar can weaken our immune system, increase symptoms of ADD/ADHD, and contribute to weight gain, moodiness and lack of energy. And because it is addictive, the more we eat, the more we want. So what can you do now to avoid “over-treating?” Here are few healthy tips from Crave Nutrition:
1. Focus on the Festivities. There is a lot to get excited about besides candy: Make creative costumes, plan a neighborhood party; build a haunted house; have a pumpkin-carving contest; spend the day decorating your yard and house.
2. Speaking of healthy treats … What if you (and/or your kids) try making some cute, nutritious Halloween treats like baking pumpkin seeds in the oven and sprinkling with cinnamon?
3. Don’t trick-or-treat on an empty stomach. I know the kids are excited, but it’s a great idea to have a nutritious meal ready when they get home from school. If you’re in a hurry, kids can have a “snack-ful dinner” – almond butter on whole grain toast with apples; carrots with hummus; black beans and quinoa, or a whole-grain pita with avocado and chopped chicken.
4. What is your favorite Halloween candy? Whatever it is – leave it at the store! If you must buy candy to give out to the trick-or-treaters, consider buying candy that you’d never eat if it was the last sweet on earth! Perhaps buy it that morning, and get just enough to give out that night.
5. You can’t eat it if it’s not there. Don’t let one night of sweet treats turn into a month of candy snacking. Toss out leftover candy the next day, and give your kids just a few days to indulge. Better to be a little wasteful by throwing out the sweets than to derail your health and weight goals (not to mention adding to tooth decay and all the other sugar symptoms).
Just because it is the 31st of October doesn’t mean we have to indulge in daily sweet treating that we wouldn’t normally do. It’s really about making better choices that keep YOU feeling better. Have cut-up fruits and vegetables in your fridge; fill snack bowls with almonds and walnuts (and take some to work, too!) Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and give yourself permission to break with old Halloween traditions to start your own.
Check back this week for some healthy sweet treat recipes. Remember, Folks, food determines how we feel and heal!
Source: Crave Nutrition, LLC ~ October 2016