Tips for a Fun-Filled, Healthy, and PCOS-Friendly Halloween
Halloween is the one time of year that it’s socially acceptable to go around begging strangers for candy. Who wouldn’t want free candy? Unfortunately, sometimes having access to an endless supply of sugary sweets leads to stomach aches and sugar crashes when our bodies have more sugar than we can handle at one time. Many of us learn this the hard way!
By planning ahead for Halloween this year, you can make sure you enjoy some sweets without going overboard. Balancing candy with more healthy choices, prioritizing your favorite treats, and enjoying other fun (non food-related) festivities can help you make the most of Halloween. Here are seven tips for a healthy, fun-filled Halloween:
- Fuel up before trick or treating: Eating a balanced meal, using MyPlate as a guide, before heading out will give you energy to walk from house-to-house trick or treating. Filling up on some nutritious foods beforehand will also prevent you from wanting to snack on candy all night long.
If you have diabetes or PCOS, eating a balanced meal beforehand is especially important so your blood sugar levels stay in a healthy range. Skimping on meals during the day of Halloween will likely make your blood sugar spike with your first bite of candy and then drop afterward, leaving you cranky and tired. Fueling up throughout the day with small, frequent meals and snacks can help you avoid this.
- Opt for fun-size candies instead of king size candy bars: Fun-size candies make it easier to sample a few different candies while controlling your portion size. King-size candy bars, on the other hand, make it much more tempting to finish the whole candy bar even when your stomach is already full.
- Focus on your favorite treats: When you lay out all your candy at the end of the night, separate your favorite candies from your not-so-favorite candies. After Halloween is over, try picking only one of your favorite treats each day to have as a dessert or part of snack. You’ll be amazed how long your candy stash will last! Also, consider donating your not-so-favorite candies to a local food pantry, senior center, or hospital.
- Savor each bite of candy, guilt-free: Halloween isn’t Halloween without candy. So, don’t feel bad about enjoying some sweets on Halloween! But, make sure you aren’t mindlessly eating a whole bowl of candy. Instead, pick your favorite candy and savor each bite: eat it slowly and notice the flavor as the sugar dissolves in your mouth.
- Balance out your candy with other treats: Some houses offer snacks like peanut butter crackers, popcorn, trail mix, or granola bars, while others may hand out non-food treats like bouncy balls, glow sticks, or pencils. Balancing out your candy collection with some of these treats will give you more options to choose from when you’re looking for a snack or treat. You may even realize you’d rather play with a glow stick instead of eat candy!
Candies and snacks with chocolate or nuts can help to keep your blood sugar in range better than those with more sugar and less fat for those with PCOS or diabetes. For example, a KitKat bar or peanut M&Ms may be better options than a package of Skittles or Sour Patch Kids.
- Don’t forget to get your steps in: If you live in a safe neighborhood, try to cover as much ground as possible when trick or treating from house to house. For some friendly competition, wear a Fitbit or use another activity tracker to see who can walk the most steps or go the farthest distance when you’re out trick or treating. Of course, you want to make sure you have a comfortable Halloween costume or you could be at a disadvantage!
- Celebrate all that Halloween has to offer, beyond the sugar rush from candy: Halloween has so much more to offer than just being a night of free candy. Watch a scary movie with some friends, walk through a haunted house, carve a pumpkin, or make a scarecrow!
Have a happy and healthy Halloween!
– Dietitian Katelyn