Holiday Eating: Halloween

This is part 1 of a 3 part blog series about staying healthy through the holidays. This time of year can be difficult for our health and this series will focus on actionable steps and advice to help you stay healthy, decrease the amount of weight gained, and be happy during this holiday season.


The holidays are right around the corner. That means cooler weather, time with the family, and an almost endless supply of food. This time of year is can be great but often has a negative effect on our health and waistline.


The average American gains up to 7 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas!


In part 1 of our blog series we will be addressing Halloween. I am going to lay out some general tips that will be consistent with not only the holidays but also any time of year. I will also include some common holiday-specific treats and dishes and discuss ways to make them healthier yet still enjoyable.


Changes to our health are often taken in leaps, start working out 5 days a week for an hour, cut out all fast food, stop drinking soda, etc. This often leads to burnout and failure with maintaining it over the long term. To make concrete changes that last a lifetime, the changes have to start small. Regardless of the size of your end goal, run a marathon, starting small helps our bodies and schedules adapt to the changes, walking then running a few miles per day.  


So where do we start with changing our health in general, this information applies to both holiday and non-holiday seasons.


  1. Exercise

    1. Our bodies are designed to move. The more they move, the better our bodies function. This includes not only our metabolism, but also our immune system, recovery, and injury prevention.
      1. GOAL: 30 minutes per day exercise (walking, running, lifting, etc.)
        1. TIP: Start with adding 10 min. in the morning or at lunch each day
  2. Water Intake

    1. Water has a very important role in our bodies. It is responsible and active in most reactions and allows us to function. Our bodies can become dehydrated before we get symptoms which are just the outward sign that things are in crisis mode. Besides being good for our health, water also helps us feel fuller faster!
      1. GOAL: 1 fluid oz per pound body weight
        1. TIP: Add one small glass of water every few days to create a habit


These are holiday specific tips that will help you get and stay healthy while enjoying the holiday season.


  1. Portion Control

    1. With the season comes season specific foods, pumpkin pie, candy apples, candy corn, that we do not have available other times of the year. When these items are available, it often results in overeating and can have an impact on our health. I will discuss a little later in the post about alternatives but regardless of regular or lighter versions of favorite holiday dishes, it is important to always practice portion control.  
      1. GOAL: Take 10 seconds between each bit to let your body recognize when it is full sooner. Reduce portions at restaurants by ordering half your dish in a to-go container.
        1. TIP: See the infographic below for sample portion sizes that can be helpful when eating at family and friends house.


  1. Alternative Holiday Treats

    1. Candy corn, cookies, pumpkin pie, and caramel apples all available this time of year it is no wonder that holiday treats are often hard to resist. When presented with these holiday treats, portion control (PC) and alternative recipes are the key to healthy eating. Below are a few common Halloween treats that have good tasting alternatives and tips on portion control. A general rule is to avoid store bought treats and make alternatives at home.
      1. Caramel Apples
        1. Alternative recipe: Healthy Caramel Apples 
        2. PC TIP: before serving, cut the apple into smaller sections. IT will help you eat less in a single meal and enjoy more throughout the season
      2. Cookies
        1. Alternative recipe: Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies 
        2. PC TIP: Make smaller cookies and only keep out a few. Put the rest in the freezer to have later.
      3. Pumpkin Pie
        1. Alternative recipe: Pumpkin Pie Muffins 
        2. PC TIP: Instead of a whole pie, make muffins from the recipe. Think of them as single serve pies! Keep a few out and put the rest in the freezer.

Our Pinterest page includes more recipes for favorite holiday treats. When looking at different recipes remember to have as few ingredients as possible. And remember, taking out sugar just to add sweetener is never a trick to make something healthier.


Stay tuned for our next blog post where we look at the eating holiday: Thanksgiving!

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