Healthy Halloween candy vs a healthy relationship with candy

As a Dietitian, I am often asked things like: “what is the worst Halloween candy?” and “what is a healthy candy alternative?” and “how much candy is too much?” If you’re new here, you may be surprised to hear that I’m in favor of tricks and treats for Halloween.

In fact, if you’ve visited our Huntersville office or seen it on TikTok, you know we keep a full inventory of snacks and candy year round. It is not a test, it is not a drill. Rather, these sweets represent how we help our clients let go of the fear around “bad foods” and find permission with all foods. (And you better believe we do actually partake in the treats!)

But Halloween has a way of putting many people face-to-face with demons — even of the edible variety. If candy is a sticky subject for you, I bet what the rest of the holiday season has in store will not be any less trying. That’s why this is a great opportunity to set realistic expectations for the role sweets can (and should!) have in life. Here are a few things to keep in mind…

Is it worth it to just eat “healthy candy”?

To some, the definition of “healthy candy” may mean lowest in sugar, ingredients, additives, calories… Often, I find when clients substitute their favorites for the “healthier version”, it can lead to over indulgence because the replacement is never truly as satisfying.

Rather than focus on “healthy candy”, I find it more important that my clients maintain a healthy relationship with candy. When we talk about foods as “good” or ”bad,” we set ourselves up for the shame spiral if we indulge in the “bad” option.

Is candy the “healthiest” thing on the planet? No. But is it healthy to be filled with guilt or shame and vow to never eat it again? Heck no. Is it healthy to restrict later or compensate with more exercise? Big N-O.

I’d like to argue that the candy itself is not as “bad” for you as the ripple effect that comes afterwards.Good or bad candy

How to intuitively eat at Halloween

Instead of setting limits or rules around candy, I encourage you to think about creating a mindful and intuitive Halloween candy experience.

  1. Stick to your normal routine of balanced, adequate meals and snacks throughout the day. Swerve the thought of eating less to “save up” for the candy – you’ll only find yourself ravenous and out of control.
  2. Be present and mindful. Make eating the candy a conscious choice, and give yourself space and permission to truly enjoy without distractions or guilt.
  3. Pause with gratitude by taking note of what else you are able to enjoy when your mind is free from the good-or-bad diet culture chatter.
  4. Afterwards, remind yourself that nothing needs to change. Candy is not bad, and you are certainly not bad. You do not need to eat less, exercise more or trash the rest of the treats. Simply enjoy and move on!

Finally, remember that candy is not removed from store shelves on November 1. When you realize that candy can be enjoyed year-round, it doesn’t make Halloween feel like such a feast or famine. This represents the role habituation plays with off-limits foods, so if you are curious about other ways these patterns may negatively reinforce your eating habits, book a discovery call to learn more about working with us.

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