Eating Smart During Halloween

How to make sure the scale does not tip the wrong way during Halloween.

OK … so let’s get this straight first.  I am not one of those eating healthy purists that will encourage you to ignore the fact that the Halloween candy of your childhood will be all around you over the next few days – I like candy corn, I appreciate a Twix bar and caramel apples, oh … where do I start?

But when looking at my weight loss goals, I am hit with the absolute reality that an extra treat here and there really ads up.  For example – 1 lb on average equals 3,500 calories.  So, to loose 1 lb a week I have to cut 3,500 calories from my diet each week.  To loose 2 lbs? 7,000 calories a week. Something that is actually really tough when your calorie intake is already under 2000 calories a day.

Taking this into mind when facing Halloween, and during the holiday season that follows, I am keeping a few rules around as I approach each day and try to reach my goal.

1. Get to know calories counts of those lurking sweets and treats.

For example, one Kit-Kat fun-size bar is 70 calories, two small packets of candy corn? 100 calories.  So, just snacking on 3-4 pieces of candy will add somewhere around 200 calories and up to 10 grams of fat to my day.  Yeah, not tons.  But do that a few days in a row, and that is almost a pound  a week that will just stick around.  And, you know, that is a big deal when you are pushing through a weight plateau like me. If you are curious about the counts on your favorite candies check out Hungry Girl’s Huge Halloween Candy Guide, or About.com’s guide.  Or, if chocolate and caramel is your weakness like me – check out this guide.

2. Allow 100 calories a day of indulgence.

It’s going to be around, you’re going to see it and you are going to want it.  There is no reason (unless you are training for something major) to totally avoid the candy or indulgences of the holiday season. So, enjoy it – with parameters.  Me? My trainer has guided me to allow 100 calories a day of a special non-diet treat.  This allows me usually to have that glass or wine or low-cal cocktail, or even a few squares of great chocolate.  So during Halloween, put aside those treats that are your favorite and allow one here and there.  But get rid of the rest – take it to work, send to work with a family member … just get rid of those items that are not worth the calories to you so they won’t be there and you won’t be tempted.

3. Fill up on meals full of fiber and protein.

When you know there will be tempting treats around, perhaps on Halloween night, make a dinner full of fiber and protein.  For me, we’re going to try out some filling chicken chili and a big fall salad with perhaps some nuts and apples in it.  That way, when the candy starts being handed out, I’ll be too full to want any.  Or at least too full to eat too much.

4. Keep moving – no matter what.

Yeah, it’s hard to get up early after a late holiday night or special holiday event, but getting up that next morning and sticking with the exercise is the only way that goal will stay in sight.  And, now after working out consistently for eight months, the morning workout keeps my body awake and going all day – which is especially important during the busy holiday season.  The energy I put out is equal to the energy I have.  Even if I am not up to jogging that morning, I’ll give it a go — or at least push my walking a bit.  Plus — big benefit — working out keeps those yucky Fall/Winter cold and flu bugs at bay for me.  Perhaps, it will for you also.

But just remember, we are all human.  We like sugar, we like carbs, we like fat.  Don’t beat yourself up if you cheat.  Just get up the next day and push it again.  But just don’t make the cheating a daily thing … or that goal will get further and further away. I speak from experience.

Julia Montgomery Stewart

Nicknamed “Julia Child” at a young age, our own Julia is most at home in the kitchen. Lately, she has combined her culinary talents with a new hobby—fitness and healthy living. As a result, her recipes reflect an intriguing balance between eating well without sacrificing flavor. Outside the home, Julia is a consummate event planner, and spent the first ten years of her career as a publicist before expanding her portfolio of talents with the launch of Live Pretty in 2010. Balancing the busy demands of career and family, Julia lives with her husband and daughter in Orlando, Florida. In addition to her work in marketing, she serves a number of community organizations and initiatives in Central Florida.

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