Taking the Scary Out of Halloween (Candy)

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. When we were kids, my brothers and I would get back from trick-or-treating and immediately tally up our pieces (to see who “won”, obviously).  We would also create piles and categorize the candy from least to most favorite.  Anything we didn’t really enjoy (for me that meant Tootsie pops/rolls, Almond Joys/Mounds and Whoppers), would be traded for candies we did love (York Peppermint Patties, Twix and Reese’s Cups were my jams).

As an adult, I still love everything about Halloween. I love a good costume (not counting “sexy” anything–I hate those). I love scary movies, handing out candy and of course, enjoying some of it myself too. Reese’s cups are still in my favorites pile.  Most of all, I look forward to dressing Rocky up every year.

The last few years on Halloween, I’ve also participated in The Teal Pumpkin Project. If you haven’t heard of it yet, The Teal Pumpkin Project is an effort to allow kids with food allergies to still be able to participate in Trick-or-Treating, by offering up non-candy treats, such as tattoos, bubbles, stickers and toys. 

While I participate as a way to acknowledge and accomodate little ones with (potentially life threatening) food allergies, I also appreciate the opportunity to give kids options for their treats.  We all know there is plenty of candy to be had at other homes, so if my trick-or-treaters want to choose a toy at my house instead, I’m all for it. 

Last year, someone in our neighborhood saw that I was giving away toys and (accurately) guessed that I must work in a health and wellness field. She was correct, but I hope the assumption was because I was accommodating kiddos with allergies, not because it seemed I was discouraging sweets.

I don’t want to be put in the category of houses that give away apples or toothbrushes at Halloween. I’m most definitely not anti-sugar or sweets. I have plenty of candy to offer too, and no it’s not organic, low-sugar or otherwise “healthified”. Here’s where I stand on treating yo-self (or your kids) on Halloween:

The bigger deal you make about candy and sugar, the more your kids will see it as something that is “bad” or should be feared. 

 

A key principle of Intuitive Eating is unconditional permission to eat. All foods. The sugary kinds, too. Rather than allowing this super fun holiday to become a memory of fear and rules surrounding food, I encourage you to try encouraging a healthy relationship with sweets and maintain a focus on the costumes and fun with friends. This Halloween, test out these tips for a non-diet approach to trick-or-treating:

  • Relax with the rules. Setting rules and restrictions surrounding candy creates a mindset of rebellion and may encourage secret eating or binging. 
  • Talk to your kids about candy. Ask what their favorites and least favorites are. Talk to them about how it makes them feel. See if they maybe want to trade or get rid of the candies that aren’t their favorites. Consider donating some candy to organizations like Operation Gratitude or Soldiers’ Angels.
  • Create some structure. I’m not a parent, but I do know that a key function of parenting is providing structure for children. Allow your kids to work on self-regulating by encouraging them to choose what candy they’d like at snack or dessert times.  Suggest they think about how many pieces may be “enough” for them to feel satisfied, so they can enjoy their stash for a longer time period or determine what else they can do with it.
  • Think before you speak. Model intuitive eating principles by giving yourself permission to eat candy and taking your time to truly enjoy it. Avoid talking about how “bad” sweets are or how you “should” only have one piece. Kids are smart and they’re always paying attention. 

And my favorite…

  • Calm down, please. One night (or even a few nights) of sugar “overload” is not going to cause harm, while instilling fear around foods and encouraging restriction can set your child up for years of unhealthy behaviors. Let’s keep the fun in Halloween (and all other holidays), shall we?

Happy Halloween! Tell me…what is your favorite treat this time of year? What goes in your trade pile?

Halloween Weekend Scenes

Hey y’all…I’m back today sharing some of my Halloween weekend fun, but first I want to take a second out to wish my boyfriend a very Happy Birthday!!!  He isn’t very active on social media these days, but you can go shoot him a birthday tweet here! 😉

Now back to our weekend fun.  Even though I didn’t dress up, I was excited for my very first time handing out candy (and non-food treats via the Teal Pumpkin Project) in our new home.  Plus, in case you live in a bubble and haven’t heard, this past Sunday was the NYC Marathon, so you know I was out cheering for my people!  Here are some scenes from the weekend…IMG_9144[1]

I ran a fast (for me right now) 5k to start Halloween and totally geeked out over fall running the whole time.  Cool weather, crunchy leaves and pretty foliage is the BEST!

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Our washing machine (which we inherited with the house) crapped out on us last week, so we had a new one delivered on Halloween morning.  Unfortunately, the delivery man informed me our old one was totally ghetto-rigged into the drain and the new one wouldn’t connect.  AWESOME #homeownerproblems!  So I spent much of the day on Saturday pretending to be a plumber and figuring this mess out.  It didn’t work…I’ve turned the project over to boyfriend and will stick to doing what I know how to do.  Like cook and eat….

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Speaking of eating, I made these delicious Power Fuel Bites with Manitoba Harvest HempHearts on Saturday.  Click over and enter my giveaway to get some HempHearts for yourself!

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I spent most of the day (from 2pm to about 8pm) handing out candy and treats to trick-or-treaters.  They were SO cute and most of them were surprisingly polite.  But none of them were as cute as my nephews.  Can you even?! My favorite little dudes dressed up as Darth Vader and an Ewok! <3

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I woke up Sunday morning so excited to spectate the NYC Marathon.  The Mickey hand was a big hit, as usual, and I was so inspired by all of the runners.  NY is NOT an easy course to run and it’s amazing how many people did so with big smiles on their faces the whole time!  Like these incredible friends…

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Kaella finally achieved her goal of running the NYC Marathon and completely rocked it.  I was able to see her twice and she was all smiles the whole time!  I’m so proud of her for pushing through after hitting the wall and finishing strong.  Go congratulate her NOW! 🙂

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No big deal…Theodora kicked butt on Sunday after just running the Chicago Marathon less than a month ago. #overachiever

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Our cheer squad was out in full force at Mile 8 and then again at Mile 23, supporting Team in Training and so many other runners!  Not sure if you can see it from this pic, but I thought my cousin’s sign was pretty clever.  It said “If the Mets can make it to the World Series, you can run 26.2 miles!” 😉

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Boyfriend and I needed some fuel of our own from spectating, so we took a quick break at Le Pain Quotidien and it was JUST what I needed after a day of indulging in too many M&Ms and Reese’s.  Boyfriend and I both ordered the Warm Autumn Grain Bowl (his with chicken) and it was all my favorite things: kale, Brussels sprouts, spiced pecans, quinoa, farro, butternut squash and goat cheese.  YUM!  I do hate when people order the same thing as me though, as I usually like to try a variety of menu items.  Silly copycat boyfriend!

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After I was good and fueled, we got back out onto 5th avenue and cheered some more.  I jumped in to run a bit with my buddy Emily who trained with TNT also and did an amazing job on her first marathon on Sunday!  So proud of her!

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Although it’s exhausting, cheering for marathon runners is SO much fun and really can’t be beat in a city like New York.

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Finally, after a long train ride home, boyfriend and I capped off our night with some pumpkin pie ice cream and watching the Mets lose the World Series.  As a Yankee fan, I can’t say I’m upset they blew it, but it was fun to watch them in the post-season anyway!

How did you celebrate Halloween?  Do you also hate it when someone orders the same meal as you?  What’s the best race sign you’ve ever seen? Tell me about it…

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