So many of our clients have been talking about Halloween this week. As with any holiday, it’s normal to feel a mix of high and low emotions. Many of our clients experience excitement and happiness around the holiday season AND feel stress about food. Halloween brings up all of the feelings, especially when it comes to Halloween candy.
We’ve heard about all of these things this past week:
Halloween candy binges
Not buying candy because it’s “too tempting”
Refusing to eat even one piece of Halloween candy
Body image around Halloween costumes
And we’ve also heard from parents asking about how to manage Halloween candy with their kids.
The most important advice is always going to center around what works for YOU and your relationship with food.
Here at Eat With Knowledge, we believe in the power of a healthy relationship with food, and our goal is to help you nourish yourself appropriately. We believe that nutrition is personal for every individual and every client will have their own unique journey. We love to talk to our clients about managing holidays!
These 5 simple tips to help you enjoy Halloween, eat intuitively, and also reinforce a healthy message around Halloween candy to your children.
After all, kids are hearing messages around candy this time of year, so we need to include children in these conversations.
Halloween is about candy, and also NOT about candy.
Halloween is perfect for picking pumpkins, going on a hayride, visiting a farm, and buying a costume. There are always so many fun activities in addition to favorite foods to enjoy.
Enjoy the candy and eat what you want!
Aim to get satisfied with the food that you truly want to eat. Do not have a lollipop if you really want a Reese’s peanut butter cup (my favorite!) Have what you really enjoy and connect to the satisfaction of the entire experience with food. Just a note that this is NOT easy for a lot of people, especially at the beginning of eating disorder treatment.
Plan candy or dessert after a big snack or dinner.
Parents tend to worry about kids “overeating” candy when trick or treating, especially if they struggle to tune in to hunger and fullness signals. Research shows that bingeing happens more frequently when meals are skipped or if a person is hungry. If a meal isn’t possible, have a nutritious snack like fruit and nut butter or a glass of milk. Balanced nutrition will help stabilize energy levels, prevent a sugar high (and sugar crash!), and help anyone connect more with what their body needs.
Notice fullness (and know it’s okay to eat past the point of fullness).
We all feel hunger and fullness differently, depending on our genetic makeup, what our bodies have experienced that day, and our environment. A simple scale of 1-10 can help people identify how a “range” of fullness may feel in their unique body. Connecting to feeling full will help anyone identify what level of fullness is best for them depending on the food situation they are in. Sometimes it’s worth it to stop eating to feel a “6” or “7” on the fullness scale. Other times, you will want to feel fullness at an “8” or “9” because the food is that good!
Notice this year’s experience vs. other holidays.
Let’s face it- holidays don’t happen all the time. There are only a few times each year where we have a completely different eating pattern than “typical” and chances are you may remember a time where you didn’t feel so great on a holiday because of something to do with food (we all have those experiences!). Take a few minutes to think about how you want this year to be different leading up to the holiday and also evaluate after the holiday is over.
Here at Eat With Knowledge, we help our clients (and parents!) navigate how to have a peaceful relationship with food over the holiday season. We would be happy to see you (or your child) for a nutrition counseling appointment.
Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian and the owner of Eat With Knowledge in Nyack, NY. She is on a mission to help people heal from diets, and find peace and balance with their food choices. She leads a team of dietitians who support the philosophy, “Feel Fabulous about Food!”