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A Nutritionist’s Guide to Surviving Halloween!

Trick or Treat!

Spooky season is upon us and we need to out-spook those candy, cider, and donut cravings before they begin! Think of Halloween as any other part of the year and gain control. You have goals and want to keep those goals on track and in place, as fall festivities take place and the holidays start to creep in. So, let's go over some ways to overcome overindulging and continue to take control of this time of the year!

Planning Ahead!

You’ve been invited to the cider mill for the 3rd weekend in a row and you’re excited to be near those warm, delicious cinnamon sugar donuts and fresh cider once again! You’re also a little tense as you think about how many you’ve had each weekend but feel like you have no control over the situation. So, what do we do? We plan ahead!

If you have an idea of what your plans are, take control! Your body works purely on the idea of calories in versus calories out. If you’re trying to lose weight, staying in a calorie deficit is essential. This means you are trying to intake fewer calories than the output of calories. To keep with this, eat nutrient dense, lower calorie foods before that Halloween party or cider mill date! Do not mistake this for over restricting and eating only crumbs! Focus on hitting protein within your meals beforehand with some veggies and complex carbohydrates. Then, once you get to that event, control those high calorie delicious foods, whether it's candy, drinks, or donuts. Allow yourself to eat slow, and limit yourself beforehand. If you plan on having cider, slowly sip on one or two glasses. You want those donuts, do it! However, tell yourself beforehand, how many you want to eat and stick to it! We want to be able to achieve livable and flexible lives, so take control by thinking about your actions and not just saying, “screw it, I’ll eat all the donuts!” Even if you’re trying to maintain your weight, apply these same concepts to keep yourself where you’re at!

All the Drinks!

Ready to rock that costume party you’ve been waiting for on Saturday night? Get your spook on but don’t let that party take you down! When it comes to alcohol, there is a way to live flexibly and not take all your progress down the drain with drinking. Apply the same concepts as above but with a little more purpose. If you weren’t focusing on hydrating before, now is definitely the time. Consume at least 2 liters of water before heading out while eating nutrient dense meals. Keep in mind eating protein and veggies but also incorporating complex carbohydrates to fill you up throughout the day. If you go into that party starving you’re only going to feel worse while drinking! Throughout the night, keep drinking more water as well. You might think this is an easy task but it's honestly very easy to forget to order water with that vodka/soda!

With hydration and nutrient dense foods before your night out, also think about your upcoming drinks. Some lower calorie beverages to stick with include vodka/soda (approx. 96 calories), vodka/water (approx. 96 calories), vodka/diet coke (approx. 96 calories), jack/diet coke (approx. 126 calories), and hard seltzers such as White Claws and Trulys. The hard seltzers tend to be around 90-100 calories per can and lower carbohydrate. A tip for if you want to enjoy a craft beer, Halloween cocktail, or a hard cider: allow yourself to have 1, and sip it slowly to make it last longer, then, switch over to a lower calorie option.

The Big Picture!

When you take a step back and look at the month of October as a whole and how many fun, fall events you might be attending, controlling your food and drink intake to stay on track is essential! Indulging each weekend or more could leave you taking 10 steps backward. Don’t let these events control you, follow the tips above to still allow yourself to have fun. Think about this concept above as the “80/20 rule.” The 80/20 rule is eating nutrient dense foods 80% of the time and leaving that 20% for fun or indulging in your favorite foods. The concepts laid out above can be considered similar to this rule, however, relying only on percentages alone leaves room for error. You can easily talk yourself into thinking you’ve been eating healthfully for 80% of the time when you really haven't.

So, go to the cider mill or that Halloween party but focus on keeping it in line with your goals! If you’ve overindulged don’t give up after that event! Get right back on track as you normally would and take on those events with confidence the next time!