I’m a nutritionist who believes in Halloween sweets and treats. There is a time and a place (and an amount) that is okay for indulgences.
I use the term “conscious indulgence” to help my clients find an accepting (and appropriate) spot for decadence in their healthy diet. Halloween is a place for this.
This concept works for most people because so many of us want to lose weight and stick to a healthy eating plan but also indulge.
However, many of us also look for “free” foods that are “sweet” so that we can eat them without “guilt” (a food term I despise by the way) for fear of derailing our efforts. This is where many people run into trouble.
Tricks are fine on All Hallow’s Eve, but when it comes to your nutrition, trying to trick your mind in a “these gummy bears are okay because they are fat-free” kind of way can derail you from your goals.
This Halloween, I want you to follow these 3 rules to enjoy your Halloween sweets without going completely off track:
- Don’t eat candy for the wrong reasons. You may think the jelly beans are a better choice than the chocolate pumpkins because “they’re just sugar, whereas the chocolate has fat,” but truth be told any extra calories you eat get turned into fat—be it from sugar, fat or protein.
Remember, you aren’t eating the gummy bears for their vitamins or minerals (there are none), fiber (none again) or health benefits (nada, nil, zilch). You’re eating your treats for their taste and the pleasure of indulging. So choose the indulgence you actually want, not the one you think you should want, and don’t give candy a hierarchy. Ever.
- Give yourself rules that work for you, and stick to them. This one can be tricky. But this is one place I am totally okay with setting some steadfast rules. First, you need to think what has NOT worked for you in the past when you’ve tried to lose or maintain weight during Halloween, and write them down. Then, write down what you will do differently this time.
For example, maybe in the past you’ve allowed yourself one piece of Halloween candy every day until the candy is gone, but you ended up two pounds heavier by Thanksgiving. This year, maybe give yourself five pieces total, and throw the rest away, or one piece per week until Thanksgiving, or you only indulge in one piece on Halloween and then donate the rest.
Different people need different rules, so there’s no right or wrong here. You need to listen to your body and be honest with yourself about your habits, strengths, and challenges.
- Eat your Halloween sweets in an empowered manner. Admit it. You’ve unwrapped three mini size candy bars over the kitchen sink while on a phone call and didn’t think much about it, until you hung up the phone and had to throw away the wrappers.
But not this year, because you are going to do things differently, right?!
Sit down. Enjoy your treat so that it is mindful, conscious, and satisfying, rather than when you’re distracted by goblins and ghosts. Take the time to savor its deliciousness.
No more tricks with your treats. Keep ‘em separate, and be real with your conscious indulgences—there is indeed a place for them in your Nutritious Life.