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Make Halloween Less Scary For Your Diet

10 tips to help you conquer candy cravings and enjoy the holiday.

10 More Ways to Make Halloween Less Scary continued...

3. Offer Healthier Treats

You can offer healthy foods to kids on Halloween, says Rebecca Puhl, PhD, psychologist and researcher at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University.

"Not only does this give kids a healthy option in their bag of treats, it also prevents parents from having to bring lots of candy to the house," she says in an email interview.

Some healthful options include granola bars, sugar-free gum, and individually packaged portions of raisins, apple slices, dried cranberries, and nuts.

4. Don't Ask Your Kids to Hide the Candy

If you're a parent, Halloween offers an opportunity to set a good example for your kids. Model moderation, not deprivation, nutrition experts recommend.

"We know restriction only makes people want it more," says Barbara Rolls, PhD, a researcher at Penn State University and author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan.

So don't ask your kids to hide their candy from you. That would only encourage the "candy ban" mentality.

5. Make the Candy You Do Eat Last Longer

Put a handful of your favorite candy bars in your freezer so that when you do enjoy a piece or two, it will last longer and you'll have the chance to truly savor the flavor. It takes twice as long to eat a frozen candy bar as one at room temperature.

6. Enjoy, but Be Mindful

Levitsky urges grown-ups to enjoy Halloween and the candy that goes with it. But, he says, that doesn't mean you can just forget about the calories. Prepare by eating a little less in anticipation of Halloween night, or adjust your eating a bit after partaking.

7. Don't Get Too Hungry

"It's much harder to resist candy when you're hungry," says Puhl.

If you skip a meal on Halloween day and let yourself get overly hungry, you'll be more vulnerable to candy temptation. When temptation abounds, it's especially important to remember to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are comfortable.

8. Plan the Perfect Halloween Night Dinner

Have a tasty, balanced meal for dinner on Halloween, urges Puhl.

Rolls, who has done research on which foods are most satisfying, says soup and salad both help you feel full on fewer calories. She suggests choosing a dinner that is high in fiber, and includes some lean protein and a bit of fat, so it will take some time to digest. Refined carbohydrates move through the digestive system quickly, so you're likely to feel hungry again sooner.

Her ideal Halloween night dinner? "Roasted or baked skinless chicken breast, a plate of vegetables, and some fruit salad," says Rolls.

9. Sip a Warm Beverage

Keep your hands and mouth busy while you hand out treats on Halloween night by sipping hot tea, decaf coffee, apple cider, or light hot cocoa. There's something about a warm drink that satisfies.

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