While Halloween as an adult isn't as fun as it was when you were a kid (can adult trick-or-treating be a thing?), there's still some stuff to look forward to. It can be a Halloween party, passing out candy, or even chaperoning the trick-or-treaters in your life. That also means there are a lot of temptations out there that might frighten your healthy-eating mindset. (Sorry, we had to.)
The spooky holiday can get really out of hand when you overindulge in the themed cocktails, extra candy, and all the other snacks and treats this time of year. (Candied apples! Apple pie or crumble! Pumpkin spice everything!) But how can you not? You don't want to be a Halloween grinch and miss out on all the seasonal fun. So what can you do to have your candy corn or candy apple (insert favorite fall treat here) and eat it too?
It's all about balance. Make sure you eat those healthy meals, and when you're out celebrating, allow yourself some treats without going overboard. As integrative dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Robin Foroutan, MD, RDN, HHC, told us before: "Remember, one meal at a party or one day of eating a bit of candy is not going to ruin your health. Do your best, get the healthy foods and exercise in, and enjoy."
We rounded up some other tips to keep in mind:
Before you head out for the party (or whatever gathering you've been invited to), make sure to eat a nutritious meal first so you won't be hungry and therefore can be more conscious about choosing the treats you want to indulge in. "The best strategy around Halloween, and the rest of the holidays that come after, is to get the good foods in at every meal," Foroutan says. "So that means getting enough veggies, protein, high-fiber foods, and healthy fats at most meals. That makes it less likely to overindulge from a place of ravenous hunger. (Who can make smart choices when they're hangry?)"
This echoes Foroutan's recommendation earlier: Don't feel guilty about eating a bit of candy. Opt for the fun-size bars, and try to limit yourself to a few pieces. You can also check out some healthier options, too, like versions without artificial colors or ingredients.
The drinks can be flowing on Halloween night—and it can be hard to say no. Try to be mindful of how much you're drinking and what you're drinking because some beverages have a ton of sugar content or high alcohol volume. And of course, make sure you stay hydrated. You'll save yourself from a hangover the next morning.
There can be a lot of temptations (aka candy) during the days leading up to and after Halloween. It might be helpful to hide them in a drawer or kitchen cabinet so you won't be tempted to grab one when you're hungry or bored.
If you have kids, this can be helpful with curbing their consumption after trick-or-treating. Don't deprive them, but don't let them overdo it. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also recommends mixing leftover candy with whole-grain cereal, nuts, and pretzels for a homemade trail mix.
If you're hosting a party or volunteered to bring something to one, add in some healthier options. The ADN suggests making treats with some nutritional value and including fruits, vegetables, nuts, or whole grains. Think popcorn with cinnamon and sugar, cinnamon-roasted pumpkin seeds, or chocolate-covered fresh fruit. Or you know, you can be that person who brings the veggie and dip platter to the party; we won't shame you.
One of the best ways to balance out extra eating is to get moving. Go on a walk or head to the gym or exercise class the day of the party. And when you're at the party, don't just sit on a couch—get up and mingle.
If your plan is to stay home and hand out goodies to trick-or-treaters, purchase some healthier options. It might be controversial—and you might not be considered the "coolest" house on the block—but that's okay. The American Heart Association suggests handing out 100% juice boxes or pouches; snack-size pretzels, popcorn, dried fruit, or trail mix; and 100% real fruit strips, ropes, or leathers. Bonus: You won't have extra candy lying around after.