Maintaining a healthy diet during the holidays, without deprivation

Oct 27, 2010 By Perry Drake

We're in the season when sugary, high-calorie treats will be among the highest hurdles to maintaining healthy eating habits and proper weight management through New Year's Day. The first big hurdle: Halloween sweets.

"October is a difficult time for many people looking to watch what they eat because and other high-calorie treats are everywhere," said Brooke Schantz, a dietitian at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill. "It's hard to avoid. It's colorfully displayed on shelves in stores, stashed around the house and crammed in candy dishes that always seem magically filled in the workplace."

The American Heart Association reports that Americans consume way too much sugar, about 22 teaspoons a day on average. That can translate into significantly higher risks of cardiovascular disease, , obesity and other chronic illnesses. Unfortunately, the chief culprits of added sugar are the centerpieces of the typical Halloween celebration -- , candy, cakes, cookies and the sugar contained in .

"It's OK to indulge your sweet tooth a little during Halloween, provided that you do so in moderation," Schantz said. "Moderation by definition means, 'within reasonable limits and not excessive or extreme.' One piece of bite-size candy a day is moderation and you won't feel like you're completely depriving yourself of Halloween sweets."

Schantz said there are number of things that you can do avoid eating too many sweets and high-calorie foods through the holiday season, including:

At home

* Wait until the last minute to buy your Halloween treats to reduce your opportunities to gorge on it.

* Buy only enough candy to hand out. Expect the same number of trick-or-treaters this year as you had the year before and buy accordingly.

* Only buy sweets you don't like. If you stock up on your favorites thinking you're be able to resist the temptation, you are only fooling yourself.

* Hand out non-sweet treats. This can include colorful stickers, small novelty toys and other Halloween-themed trinkets.

* Set limits on how much your kids can eat. Five days is a good limit. Place some candy in five equal bags (one for each day) and dispose of the rest.

At parties

* Always eat before attending a holiday bash. Eating a nutritious, healthy snack prior to the event will help you to curb your appetite and prevent overindulgence.

* Take a healthy appetizer or side. If you are worried there will be no healthy appetizers or sides at a party then take your own. You will look thoughtful to the host for bringing something to their party and feel at ease that you at least have a veggie tray there to snack on.

* Limit your intake of alcohol. Opt instead for light hot chocolate or a cup of hot tea, both of which can help you keep your hands and mouth busy while partying.

In the workplace

* Put the candy bowl out of sight. Ask co-workers to place candy bowls in a desk drawer, a break room or in a cabinet.

* Donate the leftovers. Homeless shelters will be more than happy to relieve you of any candy and treats you have leftover and also from the excess your children may have collected treat-or-treating.

* Bring healthy treats to work. Bring in apple slices with light caramel dip, little bags of homemade, air-popped popcorn or a fruit or veggie tray.

Explore further: Oil-swishing craze: Snake oil or all-purpose remedy?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Halloween treats okay with a few tricks of the trade

Oct 12, 2010

For many adults and children, the idea of Halloween without candy is a frightening one. But Kate Yerxa of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension says there are several ways to both limit the amount of post-Halloween ...

Halloween candy: Facts and myths

Oct 20, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A holiday devoted to vampires, goblins and ghouls is a recipe for a ghastly night of fright. But false stories of marauding strangers and poison-laced candy can make the evening scarier than ...

Food 'tricks' that combat sneaky, creepy Halloween treats

Oct 30, 2007

The sneakiest, creepiest surprise this Halloween may actually be in the candy dish. In a study being presented this Saturday at the American Heart Association conference in Orlando shows that people at only half as many mini-size ...

Things To Ponder While Eating Halloween Candy

Oct 28, 2009

For kids, ringing a neighbor's doorbell, yelling "trick or treat," and receiving candy brings plenty of smiles, but for many the real fun of Halloween happens when you turn your plastic jack-o'-lantern candy ...

Recommended for you

AMA examines economic impact of physicians

5 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Physicians who mainly engage in patient care contribute a total of $1.6 trillion in economic output, according to the American Medical Association (AMA)'s Economic Impact Study.

Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds

5 hours ago

Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her ...

How to keep your fitness goals on track

6 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The New Year's resolutions many made to get fit have stalled by now. And one expert thinks that's because many people set their goals too high.

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.