Halloween is just around the corner. For most of us adults, that no longer means dressing up and driving around the subdivision to collect sweets from total strangers, but it does mean a close encounter with foods that are definitely not on our diets. Whether you choose to practice self-control or indulge responsibly, here are some tips and strategies to help you succeed without undoing all your hard work at the fitness gym.
If You’re Determined to Show Self-Control…
Some of us already know from experience that it’s impossible for us to eat “just one” little snack-size candy bar. The first strategy, therefore, is to know your weaknesses. It’s a lot easier to resist temptation when you’re not sabotaging yourself by buying your favorite candy to hand out a week before Halloween, sitting too near the community candy dish at work, or strolling through the seasonal aisle at the grocery store. Whatever tends to weaken your resolve – avoid it. Here are a few other ideas:
- Out of sight, out of mind. If you want to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters in spite of your weakness to sweets, stash it somewhere you can’t see it and won’t be reminded of it.
- Eat a filling meal before handing out candy. As some say, “there’s always room for dessert,” but the more satisfied you feel, the less you’ll be tempted.
If You Choose to Indulge…
If you can eat just one or two candies and stop there, enjoying a few Halloween treats really isn’t going to sabotage your diet or your fitness center workouts. The key is to know how many calories you’re consuming. Those little snack-sized bars may look innocent enough, but some of them – for instance, a snack-sized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or Take 5 bar – can pack over 100 calories each! Look up some charts for average calorie-counts on popular Halloween candy, and you’ll notice quite a range. If you enjoy sour candy more than chocolate, you’re in luck: SweeTarts, Smarties, and JellyBelly beans range from only 10 to 35 calories per snack-size portion. Make it your goal to keep your treat under 100 calories, and be sure to record it on your personal fitness tracker.
Another strategy for indulging is to pick healthier treats. Healthy has a broad definition in this case, since no candy is really “healthy” for you, of course. Still, you can pick your sweet poison in a way that maximizes nutritional benefits for the caloric punch. One of the best choices, some say, is Hershey’s Special Dark miniatures – at 44 calories each, you can afford to eat not just one, but two of them. What’s more, you’ll be getting the antioxidant benefits of dark chocolate. Choices like peanut M&Ms and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures have more protein and fiber than the rest while staying within the 100-calorie-per-snack guideline.
Finally, if you do over-indulge, don’t get depressed or give up – just get back on track.
Remember, you can always throw in an extra workout at the fitness center. Just as an example, it takes about 60 seconds of jumping jacks to burn off 9 calories. How many minutes of jumping jacks or other calisthenics will it take to burn off what you ate? Do the math, do the work, and you won’t have to regret the treat.