Alyssa Simon, Nutrition Columnist
Halloween has already arrived, and even though you may be too old to go trick-or-treating, you are never too old for celebrating! Candy corn, cider donuts and jack-o-lanterns mark the beginning of the holiday season. As if Christmas decorations in the stores aren’t scary enough, the thought of holiday weight gain might be. You can enjoy the upcoming holidays without depriving yourself of peanut butter cups, pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes if you know how to make the right choices. Follow these do’s and don’t’s tips for a healthy Halloween.
Do: Eat three meals and a snack or two on Halloween. Don’t: Skip a meal to save calories. Often times, people think that by skipping a meal and “saving” their calories for later, they won’t gain weight. And often times, this isn’t true. By skipping a meal, you will become ravenous and eat more at the next meal than you would have at both meals. Start your day off right with a healthy breakfast of whole grains and protein, like a vegetable omelet and whole wheat toast with natural peanut butter.
Do: Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water throughout the day. Don’t: Go overboard with sugary drinks and alcohol. Even though liquids don’t provide the body with satiety or the feeling of fullness, all liquids (besides water) contain calories. Sometimes it can be easier to drink 200 calories than it is to eat that amount, so make sure you are aware of what you are drinking. Calories in alcohol can add up very quickly. There are seven calories in one gram of alcohol, and around 80 calories in a shot of vodka, depending on the proof. Limiting your alcohol intake will not only make your night safer, you will be consuming less “empty” calories, or calories that provide no nutritional benefit.
Do: Indulge a little. Don’t: Deprive yourself to the point where you rebel and binge eat. Halloween is only once a year, so tonight there is no reason to deprive yourself (that’s not an invitation to eat everything you want). On special occasions, try and keep your sweet (or salty) tooth to less than 300 calories for the day. This may require some planning to decide which treats are really worth it, and which ones you can have any day. By really savoring what you eat, you can have a few pieces of candy without gaining weight.
Do: Chew gum. Don’t: Eat mindlessly. If you find yourself grabbing a handful of chips every time you walk past the snack table without noticing, you are eating mindlessly. You may also be grabbing the chips simply because they are there. Try chewing a piece of gum if you notice yourself eating without actually feeling hungry. The chewing sensation may distract you from wanting to chew on chips or candy.
Have a healthy and safe Halloween this year by practicing moderation, following the do’s and don’t’s tips, and if you will be drinking, keeping it to a few drinks and drinking plenty of water. Happy Halloween!