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Halting Halloween Weight Gain

With Halloween around the corner, stores are flush with treats than can pose a temptation to more than just the trick-or-treating crowd. The sugary season can frequently cause havoc with adults.

Typically, two major dilemmas arise at this time of year:

  • How much candy should you purchase to ensure you have enough – but not too much – for your visitors?
  • What do you do with the mounds of candy brought home from the trick-or-treaters in your household?

Both have the potential to thwart your weight management and healthy eating efforts. To deter derailment, consider adopting the following strategies:

  • Buy candy the day of Halloween. Though waiting for the last minute may mean there is less to choose from, it is highly unlikely that all store shelves will be empty. If you buy candy weeks ahead of time, there is a good chance you may dip into the supply well before Halloween arrives and ultimately have to buy more on that day anyhow.
  • Think about the past Halloweens and how much candy you really had to give out. Often, individuals buy much more than they need. No need to have leftovers. It’s okay to turn the porch light off a bit early if you run out.
  • If the thought of waiting until the last minute to buy candy creates angst for you, then store it in an out-of-the-way place in the household. Remember out of sight, out of mind. This technique may help with the candy your kids bring home as well.
  • Purchase a candy selection you don’t like, as it will be less tempting.
  • Don’t hesitate to toss some of the candy your kids collected-especially if their bags are filled to the brim. Better to toss in the trash than into your body.
  • Refrain from bringing your candy “leftovers” into the workplace. It just creates temptation for your co-workers and yourself as well, albeit at a different place.
  • If you do decide to eat some Halloween candy, then pre-portion out an amount, eat it slowly and enjoy. Don’t grab it mindlessly, which often leads to eating too much and feeling guilty thereafter.

In celebration of the season, try this recipe from eatingwell.com:

Candy Corn Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup chopped unsweetened dried pineapple
  • ¼ cup chopped dried apricots
  • ½ cup whole-milk plain yogurt

Directions

  • 1 Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • 2 Spread oats and sunflower seeds on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes.
  • 3 Coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray. Cook honey in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, without stirring, until large foamy bubbles form, 2 to 4 minutes. (The bubbles will start out small and increase to about ¾ inch or larger when the honey is done.)
  • 4 Immediately pour the toasted oat mixture and salt into the honey; stir until completely coated. Quickly press the granola into the prepared pan using a heat-resistant spatula coated with cooking spray. Top the granola with a circle of pineapple pieces in the center of the pan and then create a ring of apricot pieces around it, stopping about 2 inches from the edge. Gently press the dried fruit into the granola. Let cool for 30 minutes. Cut into 8 wedges and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • 5 Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the wedges on the pan and spoon 1 tablespoon yogurt onto the bottom third of each wedge. Place in the freezer until the yogurt hardens, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
  • To make ahead: Individually wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

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Linda Antinoro RD, LDN, CDE