Don’t Let the Treats Trick You!

By: Selena Shanahan, ’18, University Health Center Nutrition Peer Educator

Jack-o-lantern’s aren’t just for pumpkins! Photo Credit: Selena Shanahan

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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

To learn more about eating healthy throughout the holidays reserve your FREE session with a Nutrition Coach today by calling 301-314-5664 or emailing


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7 Responses to Don’t Let the Treats Trick You!

  1. Avital says:

    Impressive jack-o-lantern peppers! Making sure you eat normal meals and have regular food prepared even in the midst of the holiday and the rushing around getting ready for parties is so essential–its really good to be reminded of that.

  2. Emma says:

    The popcorn is a great idea, healthy festive snacks are a great way to stay in the Halloween spirit without eating bags of sugary candy! I love making pumpkin spice breads and muffins that are healthy but keep the fall ~vibes~

  3. Thea B says:

    Oh that suggestion about buying candy last minute is genius!! Also planning fun party games is key too. Thanks for reiterating that Halloween is just one day and wont make or break goals.

  4. Cassie D says:

    Great ideas!!

  5. Ashley Statter says:

    Love your blog Selena!! Great idea about buying candy last minute, so easy to overeat candy when it is sitting around…save it for the trick or treaters

  6. Rebecca Heming says:

    I love the popcorn idea! If you end up with a lot of extra candy, you can usually find places that will accept donations, which can help keep you from devouring the entire bag!

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