The Scary “C” Word: Candy

With Halloween comes…candy. Of course it may, or may not, be possible for you to not have candy in the house. If you have kids it can be a challenge…or even if there lots of kids in the neighborhood who come Trick or Treating it might seem like it is impossible to not have any candy around.

The truth is, I know more women who buy candy “for the kids” because it is an excuse to have it in the house and eat it. Then when it is the day before Halloween we have to go buy more because it is all gone! Hmmm…where could it possibly have gone?

So, what are your options?

Well, you can buy the candy. After all you’ve heard me say before there are no forbidden foods, right? True enough. But before you use ME as your excuse to have it around the house I suggest you ask yourself some questions.

Do you really want the candy in the house? And if you do, what is the motivation for having it around? If you want to have it available for Halloween then do you need to buy it now…the first week of October, the 2nd week…any time prior to the 31st? Are you trying to “test yourself” to see if you can resist the urge to eat it?

For most of us, if it is there, we will eat it.

There is no need to test yourself.

Give yourself a break!

You are learning new habits and you are realizing that you deserve health and fitness…and that eating tons of candy is not part of a health and fitness plan.

While you are learning new skills, you are more apt to have some falls…just like riding a bike. So rather than riding on the edge of a cliff, how about we ride where if we fall it is a bit softer.

In other words, have a couple pieces around if you want, but until you have practiced and gotten stronger and learning whether or not you really want a food or it is an emotional reaction you treat yourself with love by giving the gift of time…you can have that candy, but you have to go to the store to get it, for example.

Remember, Halloween candy will be there tomorrow and next week and next month. It isn’t going to go away. Often we buy excessive amounts of treats because they are “on sale” or are “seasonal”…but it isn’t a bargain to buy candy on sale when we end up eating an entire bag ourselves and have to go out and buy more! AND most candy that is sold at Halloween is the same candy that is sold the rest of the year, just in different packages.

If there is a special treat that you can ONLY find this time of year, then buy yourself some. But don’t beat yourself up over buying it—or eating it. Instead, really savor it. Enjoy every lick or bite. Treat it like it is special. Most people don’t wear their diamond earrings every day—they save them for special occasions and when they wear them they feel special. Our favorite foods are also more special when they are less frequently eaten and more deeply tasted.

A great trick is to have your list of things you can do rather than eat handy…that way when the urge comes you don’t have to hunt high and low for it.

Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water. This is another little trick that people often forget as the temperatures start to drop…but drinking water really helps curb many of our cravings.

Of course you can buy candy that you don’t particularly like…but I don’t recommend that (unless it is a favorite of your kids or spouse.) When I tried that before I dealt with the emotional ghosts in my life I just ended up eating a bunch of candy I didn’t even like much! Heck, if you’re going to eat something, at least have it be something you really like!

So if you are going to have candy around “for the kids” then get their candy and get your own too. Make yours a smaller portion, maybe just a couple pieces knowing you can always get more, and make it the best tasting, most wonderful confection ever. And it is 100% yours, everyone else has to be hands off.

Another option for Halloween itself is not give candy, but hand out something else. I know a lot of dentists give out sugar free gum. Other folks give out coins…when I was a kid it was a penny, but I suspect the going rate is more than that now! I’ve also seen pencils, small erasers, stickers…there are lots of options that won’t rot the teeth or break the bank.

If you have kids and not having food treats just doesn’t seem possible, consider having a party with some of the neighbors. Then you can create homemade treats and give the kids more wholesome foods without parents having to worry about where they came from.

In my neighborhood there are really no kids. Well, there are exactly 2. That family goes elsewhere for Halloween so we know that there won’t be any little goblins wandering around unless people drive in from other places. So we don’t buy candy, turn our lights out and have a nice quiet evening watching a movie and having a night of our own treats

One of my favorite treats is what we call “Snack Night” and this works really well for Halloween…we buy some really good crackers…like Triscuits or rice crackers which are filled with whole grains (look at the ingredients because some have MSG and other ingredients you might not want). I like ones with some spices.  We cut up a lot of vegetables…I love strips of red, yellow and orange bell peppers, cucumbers, little grape tomatoes. Sometimes we get hummus, sometimes goat cheese (I like to get a log and roll it in Herbs de Provence)…other times we might get some meats. We might have pickled onions or mushrooms…whatever sounds good at the time. Whatever we get it is always finger food and fun.

We dish out the tray and have a large proportion of vegetables compared to everything else. By prepping it in the afternoon we can sneak away before the first ghouls come to the door. By having mostly vegetables we know we can eat the entire platter and still feel really good! We may eat more food than normal on snack night, but we thoroughly enjoy it!

So you can be an old stick-in-the-mud like me and hunker in, or choose to eat candy all month long. Or try some of my other tricks and treats that are somewhere between…the most important part of this is that the food is not placed off limits, so whatever way you go, enjoy it, savor it and treat yourself with love because the worst trick of all is to beat yourself up for something you’ve done.

This Halloween give don’t banish food, instead banish the “woulda, coulda, shoulda guilt”—and that’s a treat we can all live with!

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