By: Selena Shanahan, ’18, University Health Center Nutrition Peer Educator
Holidays for many of us begin with tricks AND treats, and not necessarily turkey and mashed potatoes, which is when most people feel they start packing on the pounds. So, whether you are going out or staying in on this spooky night, the Nutrition Coaches here at UMD have some quick tips to help you enjoy Halloween and keep your dietary goals intact.
If you are planning on going out for the night consider these few tips:
- Plan to eat before you leave. Many of us get so wrapped up in the festivities and looking forward to all the treats, we forget to eat. The treats only trick us into thinking we’re eating less, setting us up to overeat. An entire tray of pumpkin-shaped rice krispies? Don’t mind if I do!
- Make something healthy for the party. It can be fun and filling! Make some falafel witches’ fingers, quinoa stuffed jack-o-lantern peppers, or any of the endless creepy characters you can make from fruits and vegetables. These snacks are packed with fiber and other nutrients that will keep you fuller longer.
- If you’re prone to over indulging in post-party treats, plan ahead! When you get back home, have a nutritious meal waiting for you. Those unplanned 2am kitchen raids usually spell trouble!
- Keep moving. If you’re the host of the party, be sure to plan things other than the food. Play some sweet tunes to keep everyone moving and plan some entertaining games for your guests.
If you plan to stay home to pass out candy, here are some tips to avoid eating the entire bucket of candy before (or after) the children arrive:
- Buy candy last minute. This will reduce the temptation of diving into the bucket before Halloween night. Otherwise, if you’re like me, you’ll end up “sneaking” half the bag of candy before you actually get to pass any out.
- Make some treats for you and your friends to enjoy. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests making your own treats, as they are likely to be more nutritious than the ones you buy in a store. Try popcorn tossed in cinnamon and sugar, which gives you a serving of whole grains while satisfying your sweet tooth.
- Hand out fruit snacks that contain 100% fruit. Not only will all the parents in your neighborhood love you, but your waistline will appreciate you too.
Something to remember whether going out or staying in—All foods fit in your diet in moderation. Halloween is just one day out of the year, and one day will not make or break you or your nutrition goals. So, relax and enjoy the holiday!
Share some of your healthy (and ghoulish) recipes and fun Halloween activities below.