Whose calendar looks like this? Now that fall is upon us, the holiday season has officially
begun! Deep breath. This is a GOOD thing. Believe it or not, Halloween is the best holiday to
begin teaching kids mindful eating behaviors (and let’s be honest, we could all use a hand or two dusting off those spooky cobwebs!).
First and most importantly, remember that Halloween is ONE day. Similar to any other holiday or special event, the same 24 hours are allotted to this holiday. Phewf! Rather than viewing Halloween, or any holiday for that matter, as an inevitable five pounds, sugar rush or automatic trip to the gym the day after, work on embracing the uniqueness of what Halloween has to offer.
Halloween is a great holiday to incorporate three central ideas of mindful eating:
# 1: THERE IS ROOM TO INCORPORATE “UNHEALTHY” FOODS INTO YOUR DIET,
Everything in moderation! The more we deny ourselves the things we love, the more we tend to crave them. To help with falling into the “all or nothing” approach, portion out your favorite
treats you tend to over-indulge on and allow yourself to still enjoy them when you truly want
them. If decreasing the portion size is too difficult, decrease the frequency you eat these “less nutritionally beneficial foods” (like candy). Halloween is a great example of this frequency concept. Candy is something that could be enjoyed on special occasions or holiday’s as opposed to every day.
#2: WHAT BETTER WAY TO EXPERIENCE A TRUE TASTE TESTING? AFTER ALL, IT
EXPANDS OUR HORIZONS (AND PALATE).
You must be thinking I am crazy for recommending a taste testing of CANDY. Stay with
me…when we taste any foods, we determine which we like and don’t like. Allow your children, or yourself, to sample a bite of different pieces of Halloween candy. Decide then which two or three you and they like the best. The rest of the candy can then be eliminated (or donated!), or split up depending on interest among your family and friends. Allowing our children and ourselves to experience and experiment with different foods (yes, even candy) teaches us to truly select foods we enjoy eating as opposed to just eating what is in front of us in the moment.
#3: THERE IS A WAY TO ENJOY EATING WITHOUT FINISHING THE WHOLE BUCKET OF CANDY IN ONE SITING!
Similar to #1, ration out the treats you love! The more you ration them out, the longer they last ;) It is the attempt to control the immediate problem at hand (sweets) that gets us. To make all of the candy disappear quicker, we must eat it all and then “get right back into the healthy living lifestyle”. MYTH! This is the all or nothing approach referenced in #1. By denying ourselves the things we love to eat, we set ourselves up to run into eating a whole bucket of candy in one sitting as opposed to enjoying it sporadically and proportionally.
…ok so how do I do this you ask?
1. Try to avoid eating candy straight out of the pumpkin…portion out ~100 calories (two
“bite-sized” pieces of candy) into small zip-lock bags.
2. Put the portioned out candy in a cabinet out of eye-sight-or stick some fruits and
vegetables in front of the candy bucket starting at you in your refrigerator so when those
cravings kick in, you can first ask yourself if you REALLY crave the candy or need some
colorful foods instead. Fun fact: eating fruits and vegetables fill us up quickly because of
their higher fiber content!
3. OR Try handing out less tempting treats at your house if these tips don’t seem to
resonate. Hand out pretzels or fruit snacks instead! If it’s not the excess amount of sugar
available in one place that spooks you out enough, maybe it’s the potential trip to the