For many of us the holiday season is filled with time spent with family and friends, celebrations, costumes, delicious food and drinks, and fun! Unfortunately the joy surrounding the holiday season is also filled with work and school deadlines, stressful preparation and shopping, tons of delicious, unhealthy treats and pressures to over-indulge and put our health on the back burner. These shifts in our thoughts and triggers toward unhealthy nutrition and health behaviors usually begins right around Halloween.
Halloween, the holiday based around costumes, chocolates and candy and, for our adult Halloween, usually alcohol. There are multiple parties to attend easily accessible treats around every corner. So how do we take this challenge toward our health and still make smart choices that allow us to start the holiday season on the right foot while still enjoying ourselves?
Some tips that can be helpful include:
1. Mini/Fun size candies and chocolates can be a blessing or a curse- make the decision to "just take one." Many times because they are smaller we feel like we can take a handful of these. If you want to still indulge in your favorite fun size candy choose one a couple days a week and fit it into your healthy eating schedule as a portion of a more healthful snack choice!
2. Do you really have a sweet tooth and can't just stop at one? Make some healthy sweet tasting snacks and desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth that you can eat in larger portions- eg. dip your fruit in dark chocolate and eat a slightly smaller serving. Find that healthier snack bar that is low in added sugars and preservatives (e.g. RX bars) that use cocoa without adding a slew of sweeteners.
3.Like anything and everything pumpkin spice? Use real pumpkin in your cooking and add cinnamon and other great holiday spices (note not cinnamon sugar) to give your food that holiday flavor.
4. Are you going to have a few drinks on Halloween? Get in the vampire spirit with a glass of red wine over beer or if you are going to use a mixer with your hard liquor choose non-sugary drinks such as soda water and lime rather than tonic waters or other soda/sugary drinks. Keep in minding drinking in moderation is also key- alcohol very easily "puts on the pounds" as it does not have any other energy providing function in the body. Another note about moderation, be safe- keep an eye on your drink if drinking at a party or bar and most importantly don't drink and drive- your health won't matter if you don't make it home.
5. Don't allow having some tasty Halloween treats make you feel like a failure! We all have the right to enjoy some indulgences. If you feel as though you have failed you will let your health go further down the drain. Stay motivated and get back on track with moderation and a healthy mindset!!
If you are looking for extra help with your nutrition and health goals and need help making a healthy lifestyle as easy and enjoyable as possible, CONTACT US today and SCHEDULE your first appointment toward taking control of your health!
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Wishing you a week of Halloween fun and healthy choices,
-Ricci-Lee Hotz, MS, RDN
Denver’s Dancing Dietitian
A Taste of Health, LLC
“Improving Quality of life one bite at a time”