A Dietitian’s Tricks for Halloween Treats

A few simple strategies to keep that Halloween candy from haunting you (and your waistline)!

I’ve come a long way since my early days as a dietitian offering individually wrapped prunes to trick-or-treaters (talk about scary!). These days, I look forward to the time of year when I get to have a taste of all my favorite candies in bite-sized portions, guilt-free!

A Trick? Or a Treat?

With growing concerns around sugar, food allergies, and childhood obesity, non-traditional trick-or-treat offerings are becoming much more common. Adding a few non-food treats (think glow sticks, stickers, or other party favors) to your candy bowl this year is not only a healthy alternative, but is also supportive of The Teal Pumpkin Project, which is a food allergy awareness movement that aims to create a safer Halloween for all kids.

…But let’s be real, I don’t need a crystal ball to foretell an abundance of candy in your future.

The American Heart Association recommends kids and many adults keep their added sugar intake to less than 6 teaspoons per day (about 25g added sugar).

Even scarier, common sources of added sugar lurking in everyday foods doesn't leave much room for a Halloween sugar-fest. Keep in mind these recommendations are meant to guide overall healthy choices and I think we can all agree that Halloween is a special occasion. Afterall, a single day of indulgence won’t impact long-term health, but a stockpile of sugar haunting your pantry for the next few months might spell disaster.

  • Stop a candy-binge in its tracks - start the night with a nourishing and festive meal, like this sweet potato black bean chili from Eating Well.

  • Don’t stock-up on your favorite candy – Giveaway treats that aren’t as appealing to you or your family. Temptations are easier to resist when they aren’t in front of you! Craving something special? Fear not - there will be plenty of opportunities in the next few days (or weeks) to score one of those mini-Twix you’ve been craving.

  • Treat Yourself - Choose a few favorites from the night’s spoils to indulge in. Choose wisely, and ENJOY IT!!

  • Share the Loot - Once you’ve set-aside a small stash, offload extras on co-workers, or find a local candy donation collection, such as:

  • Halloween Candy Buy Back

  • Operation Gratitude

  • Get back on track – The Halloween party is over as of November 1st which means it’s time to get back to your typical routine. Set yourself up for success with a healthy breakfast and you’ll be more likely to eat well throughout the day.


Emily Navarro is a registered dietitian and owner of Emily Navarro Nutrition, LLC, a private practice offering nutrition services at Total Health Associates in Waldwick, NJ. For more healthy inspiration, visit www.emilynavarronutrition.com and follow Emily on Instagram @emilynavarro_nutrition

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