Behavior Change and Health News

The Scariest Thing About Halloween

Pick your poison: M & M’s. Kit Kat. Twix. Twizzlers. Reese’s peanut butter cups. Swedish fish. Gooey caramels. These seemingly innocent treats are harmless when eaten in moderation, but could be detrimental to your waistline if you overindulge this Halloween. (See the most popular Halloween candy in each US state here).

For anyone who attempts to keep their weight at a healthy level, we are entering the dreaded trifecta of over-indulgent holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. How do we manage the sweets and breads and “I only get to eat this once a year!” foods that seem so small at the time, yet can add up to unwanted weight gain?

One of the key philosophies of Healthy Eating Every Day is that all foods can fit into a healthy way of eating. You can eat sweets or less nutrient-dense foods occasionally, if you account for those extra calories by limiting other foods or being more active. Try these tips from Healthy Eating Every Day to avoid being frightened by too-snug pants or higher numbers on your scale.
  • Be selective. It’s ok to have a few sweets around the holidays. Choose wisely, rather than eating whatever is in front of you. If Twix are your favorite, have one and skip the marshmallow thing that probably isn’t as good anyway.
  • Eat slowly. Rather than inhaling several mini candy bars all at once while standing at the kitchen counter, pick one or two that you know you like and sit down to eat them. Enjoy it. Savor the flavor.
  • Eat a snack before trick or treating. Make it a healthy snack that will fill you up somewhat so you’re not starving and tempted to eat all the Milk Duds in your kids’ treat bag. A handful of almonds, apple slices with peanut butter, or even a small bag of pretzels can keep you from feeling ravenous.
  • Write down everything you eat. If you have to write down that you ate 5 mini Snickers, it might curb the craving. Self-monitoring is a key skill to learn and practice if you want to maintain healthy habits over the long term.
  • Stay hydrated. Sometimes, your feelings of hunger may be more acute if you haven’t had much liquid. Drinking a glass of water or tea may help your stomach to feel fuller. Just avoid heavily sugared drinks; those work against your attempts to keep your weight at a healthy level.
For more ideas about tackling your triggers to unhealthy eating, check out Healthy Eating Every Day at

Happy Halloween!

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