Healthy Halloween Tips
Halloween is such a fun way to kick off the holiday season. It’s such a very good time to let go and have some fun with all of the fun costume ideas and parties that can be had. But Halloween, just like many other holidays, can lead one down a path of the dreaded yummy food chow down. Stores fill their shelves with all kinds of candy and deserts to handed out to children as they show up in their adorable costumes. Oh and let’s not forget about foods like caramel apples, pumpkin pie, and many other not so healthy options that pop into the picture. It is of course okay to treat yourself now and then to a little something. But the issue with holidays such as this is that you can wind up having candy and unhealthy foods around you that easily become hard to resist.
How Much Weight Do People Gain During the Holidays?
The holidays tend to lead to greater weight gain than during the rest of the year. Those who have a high BMI or have been overweight in the past are most effected as they struggle with self control. Patients who have undergone bariatric surgery such as gastric sleeve, gastric band or gastric bypass fall right into this higher risk category. While bariatric surgery is a great tool for long term weight loss success, it still takes work on the patients’ part to ensure that they do not begin to gain the weight back.
Healthy Halloween Snack Ideas
One way to avoid eating all those unhealthy foods and gaining weight is to simply replace them with healthy alternatives. These can be great for not only bariatric surgery patients but anybody looking to watch their diet. Even your children and friends can benefit from these healthy tips. Remember, if you are not physically hungry just say no to all food.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Eating fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to satisfy your cravings. What’s great about choosing fruit and vegetables over candy is that it provides vitamins and antioxidants that your body needs. If you have kids, or just like to be creative with your foods, you can even get crafty with some fun recipes.
- Whole Grains: You can still create very innovative and tasty treats using crackers made with brown rice or whole wheat, popcorn, oats, and much more. In fact you can click here to view some ideas that are both creative and healthy. There are even recipes for making healthy alternatives to oatmeal cookies out there that you can find. What’s great is that these snacks can be packed with healthy calories and are small in size; making them easy to eat in moderation.
- Go Healthy with Drinks: You can in fact use healthier alternatives to punch, soda and alcohol for Halloween. By using healthy fruit drinks, water with natural flavoring such as lemon, lime, and berry juices you can help support good health. And by adding a simple creative spin on the healthy drink such as dry ice, a spooky cup, or maybe some fake eyeballs floating in a red drink you can still keep it festive.
- Throw in Protein: It is important to add a small amount of fruits or carbohydrates with protein and fat. If you want to implement your Halloween snacks into a balanced diet, you can in fact throw protein into the mix through simple ingredients such as almond butters, nuts, protein bars, protein powder, etc. There are many sites that have healthy protein snacks and if you click here you can see some great recipe examples at bodybuilding.com.
- If you do chose to eat candy: Be sure its something you enjoy. Read the label, be aware of what you are eating. Do not just open it up and pop it into your mouth; mindless eating. Save it and have it with your meal. Take the mindful approach and still stay with in your nutrient goals.
How to Say No
Now it’s easy only to say that you can make some healthy snacks to eat in place of the bad stuff. But how do you make it easier to say no in different situations?
Here are some solutions if you have to have bad stuff around:
- Keep Sweets and Candy Out of Sight: If you still have to keep sweets and candy in the house, you can only keep them hidden out of sight. Placing them high up on a shelf in the pantry, out in the garage, far back in acabinet under the counter behind other items. Then just place healthy options in the more convenient places such as the counter, fridge, central pantry space that sits at eye level, etc.
- Buy Candy You Like Less or Don’t Like: If you are buying candy to hand out to children, only buy the stuff you don’t like much. Then keep healthy snacks that you love around so that when you have a craving, you can grab a bite you like that will benefit your health.
- Buy Some Chewing Gum: Keep some chewing gum on hand that you can chew as needed. By doing this, you can help reduce the chances of eating the candy or sweets in front of you.
- Throw or Give Away the Leftover Candy and Sweets: Candy and sweets do not offer much good for your body. But when you have leftovers it can be tempting to
eat them. A great solution is to think about the harm that they can do for your body and the work it’ll take to fight off those extra unneeded calories. Will it really hurt to just throw the leftovers in the trash or give them away? Throwing or giving away that $5 in food may very well be an investment and not an expense in terms of your health.
How to avoid bringing candy in if possible:
- Don’t Do Traditional: Just because Halloween can be known for the candy and not-so-healthy foods; that doesn’t mean you have to follow the usual
theme. You can still enjoy the fun side with the costumes, the decorations, and foods made to look spooky. Just simply make it surround more your usual diet so as not to veer off of your healthy path. Also, dumping food all together for treats and provide stickers, tattoos; offering something different is always fun instead of offering the same old chocolate bar or lollipop.
- If You Have Kids, Get Them Involved: If you have children and want to get them to have fun with the healthy angle on Halloween, get them to help make the fun snacks and tell them how they’ll make them big and vigorous. And you can even give them the option to give away some of their candy or sell it so they can buy something they really want such as a fun toy. This can help teach them healthy eating habits and give them a feeling of accomplishment and excitement as they get that toy they’ve always wanted with money they earned.
- Involve Other Former Bariatric Patients: Another excellent way to keep motivated to do well is to have a support group of friends who have also undergone weight loss surgery. Maybe have a get together or just share inspirational links to helpful recipe ideas and photos of your personal creations. This can turn a simple idea into a community of people who all share a passion and mindset which in turn creates an entirely new tradition.
Handling the Emotional Side
Some who eat uncontrollably do it out of emotion and feel bad about it afterward. But there are in fact ways to overcome this which will help set you in motion for success.
- Establish a long-term goal: Having an end result visualized in your mind can greatly contribute to get you steered in the right direction. Perhaps you only want to stay within a weight range, run a 5k, or inspire your kids are some examples of goals that you can have in place which you simply work toward through your actions.
- Control Your Diet
- Healthy Carbs: Avoid the simple carbohydrates such as white bread, muffins, mashed potatoes, etc. These carbs spike your insulin giving you a short-lasting high which can also lead to a crash and mood swings. Replace them with whole sources such as oats, whole wheat, brown rice, and yams which provide steady flow of energy and a more balanced mood.
- Healthy Fats: Eating healthy sources of fat such as nuts, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, and almond butter are some good ways to help balance out your mood. Cashews, for example, serve as an antidepressant alongside other health benefits.
- Take Your Vitamins: Vitamins also serve as a way to better your health and state of mind. After undergoing bariatric surgery such as gastric sleeve, you can purchase bariatric vitamins which are specially formulated for your needs.
- Control Your Mindset: (This comes hand in hand with your diet as foods and vitamins help your mindset)
- Get Enough Sleep: If you sleep well, you contribute to keep your mind sharper and alert which reduces chances of feeling stressed. Develop a bedtime routine such as reading under a dim light with some chamomile tea to help wind down.
- Pamper Yourself, Don’t Be a Damper on Yourself: Some tend to get into a trap by thinking about the negative and becoming stuck in their own negative thoughts. This can lead to emotional eating as the
thoughts begin to eat away at you. Try pampering yourself with a nice hot bath, a spa day, some time by the river, or some meditation or taking just a few minutes to read inspirational quotes or a motivational book.
- Spot the Trigger Events and Thoughts (Hide the Foods): As mentioned above, hiding the harmful foods is an excellent way to overcome emotional eating. Having moments of self-discipline are rewarding within themselves. Keep finger foods such as baby cut carrots, grapes, berries, and nuts around instead of candy or chips for example.
- Leverage a Support Group or Friends: Having somebody to call or a Facebook Support group to reach out to are some great ways to overcome emotional eating.
When you feel that craving, call your friend, post on the support group page, or private message support group members to help guide you through it.
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