3.4 pounds. That’s the average weight of candy Americans consume every Halloween, according to one survey. We’re not gonna do the math here but that adds up to a lot of extra calories and sugar. Another stat that’s more terrifying than that haunted house? We consume over 100 grams of sugar, and over 71 grams of added sugar per day. Scary!
So what’s a candy-corn craving adult supposed to do on this particularly saccharine holiday? We’d never tell you to cut yourself off from the candy entirely. Depriving yourself can lead to overindulgence, sabotaging those healthy eating intentions. Instead, approach the trick and treating more mindfully. Put down that giant pumpkin bucket and pick up some of these tips for satisfying your cravings more healthfully on October 31.
1. Halloween is just one (sugar-laden) day.
A single day of indulgence won’t impact your long-term health, but a stockpile of sugar haunting your pantry for the next few months might spell disaster. The real damage sets in when the candy extravaganza starts the week before Halloween, and bleeds all the way into Thanksgiving. So treat yourself to a few peanut butter cups the day of, then donate the rest of your stash (some dentist offices even have buy-back programs for leftover candy!).
2. Pick Your Favorite Poison
Are chocolate bars your favorite? Then have one! Don’t waste your time (or calories) on whatever else is in the candy bucket–and then put it out of your sightline so you’re not tempted later. Even better? Try a square or two of dark chocolate. The higher percentage of cacao chocolate contains, the higher the amount of antioxidants, so go for 70% or darker, non-alkalized dark chocolate bar.
3. Make Healthy Treats Halloween-Themed
Get the flavors of the season without all the sugar by making an orange and black pumpkin smoothie for breakfast with a frozen banana, canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, dates, and your favorite milk, top it with cacao nibs for a ghoulish garnish. Or, try our Grilled Chicken and Roasted Squash with Chile Sweet Potatoes to warm you up (and fill you up!) before trick or treating. Bonus: sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A.
4. Candy? What Candy?
Sure, Halloween wouldn’t be the same without all the treats, but there are so many other activities to take advantage of that aren’t as spooky for your overall health. Set a night aside to carve a pumpkin, turn on a scary movie and make some popcorn (pour some melted dark chocolate over it to satisfy those cravings). It will help take the focus away from the candy bowl.
5. Redefine What “Treats” Mean
With growing concerns around sugar and food allergies, non-traditional trick-or-treat giveaways are becoming much more common. Consider having some non-candy options (think glow sticks, stickers, or other party favors) by the front door. This also helps support The Teal Pumpkin Project, a food allergy awareness movement that aims to create a safer Halloween for all kids—and a healthier one for grown-ups, too.