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Halloween Weight Loss Hacks

By Dana Babeu, R.D. | October 26, 2015

Whether you've had weight loss surgery - Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve or LAP-BAND® - or you're just looking to stick to your diet this Halloween, you don't have to be scared by the thought of easy access to barrels of candy. You can still celebrate Halloween and stick to your eating plan. Just try these weight loss hacks for Halloween.

It’s that time of year again, where the ghosts and monsters come out to play and scary things lurk around every turn – and I’m not just talking about costumes or haunted house decorations. Yes, another Halloween is upon us and as a registered dietitian and mother, it’s one of the scariest days of the year.  What scares me most is sugar, sugar and more sugar.  In a country where the average person consumes 20 teaspoons of added sugars per day, more than double the recommended upper limit, do we really need an entire day dedicated to amassing a stash of sweet treats?  The obvious answer is no, but in the spirit of tradition (and since I don’t want to be the target of every kid everywhere), here are some tips to help make your Halloween healthier without sacrificing all the fun:

  • Give out candy you don’t like, that way you’ll be less likely to fall into the “one for the trick-or-treater, one for me” trap.
  • Better yet, don’t give candy at all.  Snack-sized bags of pretzels, cheddar crackers, popcorn and granola bars are lower-sugar alternatives to the traditional candy deluge.
  • Want to take it a step further? Consider offering non-food treats such as stickers, pencils or crayons, glow sticks, temporary tattoos and small toys.  This growing movement began as a way to help kids with food allergies feel more included, but it benefits all kids (and the parents who pay their dental bills) by taking some of the sweet stuff out of the running.  For more information on the Teal Pumpkin Project and their misson visit www.foodallergy.org/teal-pumpkin-project
  • Eat regular, balanced meals throughout the day focusing on fiber and protein and be sure to drink plenty of water.  This will help keep blood sugar stable and may reduce the urge to visit the candy bowl.
  • Go trick-or-treating - not for the candy but for the exercise. Taking your kids door-to-door is a great excuse for a long walk in the beautiful fall weather! Don't have kids? Tag along with a friend or neighbor who does. Put someone else in charge of handing out the candy at your door or take it with you and hand it out as you go.
  • If you do choose to indulge, do so with caution and a set plan. Try choosing 2 small items that will leave you feeling satisfied without setting you on a path to overindulging.  Know your triggers and choose your treats wisely.
  • Beware the ghost of Halloween past and show leftover candy the door (or garbage).  Encourage kids to choose only their favorite items to keep from their haul and donate the rest to a local organization or find a dentist who participates in the annual Halloween Candy Buyback http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com/.  Resist the urge to take it to the office or rely on willpower to thwart temptation.  Put the kids’ stashes in a high cabinet and get the rest out of arm’s reach.

With a little planning and some new ideas, it is possible to have a fun, safe and healthier Halloween.  Plus, your teeth and waistline will thank you later.

Dana Babeu, RD, is a registered dietitian at New Jersey Bariatric Center, a medical & surgical weight loss center with offices in Springfield, Somerville, Hoboken, East Brunswick, Hackettstown and Sparta, New Jersey. She provides pre-operative and post-operative nutritional counseling to New Jersey Bariatric Center’s Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve, LAP-BAND (gastric band) and revision patients, in addition to dietary counseling for patients in our Medical Weight Loss program.
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