You meant to just eat one sweet from the family-size bag. But in the blink of an eye, half of it is gone. The truth is, most people have been there. Halloween sweets are delicious, and a holiday is a great reason to indulge in something sweet. Halloween sweets might bring up nostalgic memories of your childhood, or be a way to bond with your kids over trick-or-treating for the best goods in the neighborhood. But how do you avoid an empty sweet bag and an uncomfortably full stomach? Here are the strategies nutrition experts recommend to enjoy your Halloween sweets in moderation.
Focus on Your Favourites
Be intentional about picking out your favorites. You’ll enjoy them the most, be more satisfied, and end up eating less. You might even consider giving away any sweets you don’t really love. Drop it off in the breakroom at work, hand it out to the community, or give it to your neighbors, friends and family.
Honour Your Cravings
It might seem counterintuitive, but eating some sweets right when you crave it can be a better move than trying to put it off and ignore the craving. What tends to happen is we avoid the craving, often saying to ourselves, ‘I’m trying to be good.’ Then later, we end up eating half the bag of Halloween sweets because we spent the day obsessing over how we couldn’t have it. Satisfy the craving when it comes, and move on with your day.
Eat Your Sweets Mindfully
When you’re not paying attention to what you’re eating, it’s easy to shovel sweets on autopilot. Really sit down and take the time to focus on the sweet that you’re eating. What does it look like? How does it smell? How does it taste? Turn off the TV and put away the phone when you’re enjoying your sweets. The end result: more satisfaction and feeling more in control.
Don’t Set a Tomorrow Diet Goal
Avoid the temptation to set a diet goal for yourself. In other words, don’t tell yourself, “Today I can have sweets, but tomorrow, I’m throwing it all away and starting a new diet!” When you tell yourself you can’t have any tomorrow, you’re way more likely to overeat today.
Eat Something Else First
Eating sweets on an empty stomach is a recipe for overdoing it. If you’ve already eaten a balanced meal of carbs, protein and veggies, and then choose to eat sweets afterward, you’re less likely to want to continue eating because you’ll already be feeling some fullness.
Combine Sweets with Hearty Foods
The trick to moderating your trick-or-treat sweets is to add volume with other nutritious foods. Don’t just grab some sweets and walk away. Combine it with fresh fruit, yogurt, nuts or anything else that can pack in additional fiber or protein. This approach will satisfy your urge for something sweet, sour or chewy but also prevent feeling as though you overdid it.
Store Leftover Chocolate Sweets in the Freezer
It’s hard to overeat sweets when it’s frozen solid. When you want a piece, take it out and let it thaw on the counter for a few minutes before enjoying.
Remember: You Can Eat Sweets Whenever You Want
Making foods off-limits makes overeating more likely when you do allow yourself to eat them. So try to keep that in mind: If you’re really loving the sweets you’re eating, you can always have a little now and have a little tomorrow. Then, there’s no urgent need to eat as much as possible now.
Set Some Boundaries
If sweets is a food you have a hard time controlling yourself around, try setting some food boundaries to help yourself out. Go through and choose your favorite kinds, then separate it evenly into four or five ziplock bags. The idea is you’ll eat one bag per week. After your sweet bag is empty for the week, then wait until the next week to open up the next bag. By having physical boundaries around your candy, you’ll be better at rationing it out.
Keep it in Perspective
Feeling guilty over your sweet consumption can make the urge to overeat worse. Give yourself permission to enjoy your favorite foods and understand that a few sweets is not going to derail your healthy eating efforts. Similarly, one sweet binge isn’t really going to derail you. How you eat most of the time is much more important than how you eat occasionally.