If you’re on a diet, Halloween is one of the scariest nights of the year. It’s not easy to stick to your healthy eating plan when you’re surrounded by candy. But even if you’re not trying to lose weight, you can do some real damage during trick or treat festivities. The calories you eat on Halloween night can run into the thousands.
So how do you eat healthy on Halloween night? Elle Penner has some sneaky tricks and smart trips that can help. Elle is a registered dietician and head of the Nutrition Department at MyFitnessPal. Her advice will help you eat less and move more on Halloween.
Eat Before You Trick or Treat
Some dieters might skip dinner or even lunch and dinner to save their calories for trick or treat candy. But that’s the wrong strategy according to Elle. She says that you need to eat a healthy, hearty meal before Halloween night begins.
“Fill up with a healthful, high-fiber meal that includes protein before you head out the door with the kids. That way, you’ll be less tempted to sneak some of their stash. There’s nothing more horrifying than being hungry and holding a bag full of sugary sweets.”
So which foods should be on your dinner table? Use these guides to fill up on fiber-rich or protein rich foods that will help you to feel full throughout the night.
Learn Halloween Candy Calorie Counts
The type of candy you choose to offer can make a big difference in your total calorie intake on Halloween. Smart dieters usually buy candy that they don’t like. But what if you like all Halloween candy? Elle says you need to read the Nutrition Facts label before you make a choice.
“If you must hand out candy, read nutrition labels before you buy. Make choices designed to minimize your total calorie and fat impact. Treats like Tootsie Rolls trump Snickers Bars. Of course, always get the smallest (fun size) portion you can.”
Of course, you don’t have to hand out candy at all. Some families choose non-candy treats to children instead, like bubbles or stickers.
Boost Your Step Count to Burn Calories
If you think that you’ll be too tempted to eat Halloween candy at home, then lace up your shoes and take the kids trick or treating. But don’t take the car! Bring your activity tracker and boost your Halloween step count to burn calories.
“Plan to walk the Halloween beat with the kids, instead of driving them around. If you can, choose routes that include hills or stairs,” says Elle.
If you walk roughly 6 blocks, you will have walked about a mile. You’ll burn roughly 100 calories in that mile. So let the kids enjoy the night while you whittle your waistline.
Burn Candy Calories at Home
If you must stay at home to hand out candy, stay active. If you sit in front of the television with a bowl of candy nearby, you’re likely to indulge. So stay active to stay distracted.
So what are the best ways to burn calories on Halloween night? Do an exercise DVD or choose an online workout to do in the living room. Or head to the gym earlier in the day to get in a workout.
Plan Your Treats to Eat Less
Let’s face it. Even the most disciplined dieter will want to indulge at least once on Halloween night. The trick is to eat just a little bit so you feel satisfied without overdoing it. Elle says that proper planning does the trick.
“Decide ahead of time what candy you’ll treat yourself to, then budget for it throughout the week. Saving 50 or 100 calories per day can lead to a delicious and satisfying Halloween night without the guilt. Set aside the candy that fits your budget and stick to it.”
Before you choose the sweet treats to enjoy, learn how many minutes of exercise you need to do to burn off the most popular candies. Then decide which treat is worth it.