6 Ways to Avoid Overeating Candy on Halloween

Halloween is a few days away. Candy-filled jars, desks, and if you have kids…well, your kid’s personal goodie bag may become yours!

Dr. Susan Albers, food psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic and author of 50 More Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food (available in Dec.), says many of her clients inquire about how to cope with bags full of candy hanging around their offices and homes.

Yes, it’s hard to eat those little snack-size bites of candy mindfully! The good news is that it is possible – tips are below:

1. Switch it up:
You often are thinking about the next piece of candy before finishing the one you have. To slow down and enjoy each piece of candy as you are eating it, eat with your non-dominate hand (if you are left handed, eat with your right). This will help prevent you from mindlessly popping candy into your mouth. Research indicates that this simple swap can cut down on how much you eat by approximately 30 percent.

2. Halloween fairy:
In my house, the “candy fairy” or the “switch witch” appears at night after every holiday, takes all the candy, and leaves coins. The candy gets chucked mercilessly in the trash or re-gifted.

3. Pumpkin seeds:
If you’re super-stressed and anxious you’re going to stress eat! Here is a great Halloween tip to lower your stress and sugar cravings: Enjoy some spicy, roasted pumpkin seeds. They are high in zinc and tryptophan so they’ll raise serotonin, your happy and calming brain chemical. They’re also a great snack to help keep your blood sugar stable and mood even.

4. Protein:
If candy is still in the house post-Halloween, eat a breakfast of protein, such as eggs or turkey bacon, with healthy fat, such as avocado or almond butter, in order to prevent from being too hungry and wanting to reach for the candy.

5. Cinnamon Tea:  Help yourself to calm and soothe your nerves with cinnamon tea rather than candy. Cinnamon is shown in research to help regulate blood sugar.  And it’s a warm comfort on a cold Halloween night!

6. Redefine Treats. Research shows that kids are just as happy to receive pencils, erasers, stickers, etc. Also, kids are savvier than you think. Many are wise to the fact that they can’t (and shouldn’t!) eat the whole bag. Be mindful of your relationship to candy. If candy is just too hard to have around this time of year, skip it all together and by non-food treats. For those that must buy candy, avoid purchasing super-sized bags. Or, wait until Halloween to buy candy. Stick to bite-sized treats.


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Susan Albers, Psy.D., is a New York Times bestselling author and a clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic who specializes in eating issues, weight loss, body image concerns and mindfulness. After obtaining a masters and doctorate degree from the University of Denver, Dr. Albers completed an APA internship at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana and a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University in California. Dr. Albers conducts mindful eating workshops across the country. Dr. Albers is the author of six mindful eating books including: EatQ, 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food, Eating Mindfully, Eat, Drink, and Be Mindful and Mindful Eating 101.