It’s that time of the year—the one where we get captivated by candy. And while we try our best not to derail your diets, each year, most of us have a moment (or more) where we cave, inhaling handfuls of candy corn or chocolate until we lose count.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Many people get a little wobbly on the diet wagon this time of year, explains Danica Crouse, registered dietitian at Indiana University Health. “The important thing to keep in mind is that tomorrow is a new day, with new and healthier decisions to make and that needs to be an important focus at times like this.”
Still, suffering from a ‘Halloween hangover’ aka sugar binge, isn’t fun. “Consuming large amounts of processed sugar, like those in Halloween candy, can make quite an impact on a person’s blood sugar,” Crouse explains, “it can cause some to feel jumpy or get the jitters, making their heart rate go up. Yes, you get a quick burst of energy, but then you inevitably crash into a sugar slump.”
Her advice: To avoid this kind of candy-induced rollercoaster, consider indulging in treats in a more mindful way. “Be more aware of what you plan to eat and then really enjoy the experience. So, sit down and think ‘I’m going to have 3 pieces of candy’ and then really savor each. Or spread your three treats throughout the day. This enables you to celebrate the holiday but not beat yourself up later,” she says.
What you don’t want to do: Give yourself a free pass to go crazy, Crouse says. “Some people put themselves on strict diet to ‘save up’ for holidays like Halloween but that isn’t healthy. Deprivation can be destructive. Instead, just practice good mindful eating habits.”
And what can we do to shake of the inevitable sugar slump we often feel after a binge? Get up and move, suggests Crouse. “Even if it’s just walking for 15 minutes. And drink water to keep yourself hydrated and fend off fatigue”
One last thing: According to Crouse, the day after Halloween can be just as dangerous to our diets. “It’s often when we all have leftover treats everywhere,” she says. Her advice: After your kids have had their fill, consider candy buy back or donation programs or just remove any extra treats from your environment if you’re feeling like you may not have the self-control.
“When it doubt, always toss it out,” Crouse says.
— By Sarah Burns