It’s no coincidence that our Halloween tradition is to walk up to a stranger’s door asking for sugar with the phrase “trick or treat.” Ironically, it is a trick AND a treat - the trick is that we think it’s actually treats.
Between passing out candy to trick-or-treaters to attending treat-filled Halloween parties to facing all the leftover candy your coworkers bring to the office next week, it can be easy to justify a few extra treats here and there. But neurologically, sugar is a stimulant that keeps us craving it the more it is eaten, says Andrea Szebeni, a registered nutritionist and dietician with the Lighthouse Recovery Institute.
Szebeni, who helps young women overcome eating disorders, provides these four tips for enjoying your favorite treats without going overboard:
· Be realistic - Telling yourself you will never have another Twix when it has been your favorite Halloween chocolate for the last 15 years is probably not realistic, Szebeni says. The key is setting guidelines. For example, if you have three Halloween parties in two days, don’t try every dish and nibble on bite-size candy bars at each party - 6 small bites are the same as eating a king-size candy bar.
· Plan ahead - Have a light snack before you leave the house so you are not hungry, which could make it easier to justify bad choices.
· Make things easier for yourself - Instead bringing wine or more sweets, bring a dish that’s healthy and delicious and can be the perfect choice for you, Szebeni suggests. Be the hit of the party by bringing a pumpkin dip with vegetables or freshly baked parmesan kale chips with apples, cheese squares and blackberries.
· Detox your taste buds - Over time we adapt to eating hyperpalatable foods that are high fat, high salt or high sugar. By eating these foods regularly we literally erode our taste buds. The good news is that you can renew your taste buds. Try abstaining from processed foods and hyperpalatable choices even for just one week. “As you begin to incorporate back certain foods that you enjoy but know should be limited, you’ll see that by only eating them periodically you will still enjoy them without feeling the need to overindulge,” Szebeni says.
Inconsistent nutritional habits also contribute to sugar cravings, Szebeni says. Not eating small balanced meals consistently throughout the day will make it much harder to stop eating. “Begin eating every 4 to 4½ hours and watch those cravings go away,” Szebeni says.
About Lighthouse Recovery Institute
Lighthouse Recovery Institute is a licensed drug, alcohol and eating disorder treatment center in Delray Beach, Fla., specializing in recovery for women. At the Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our mission is to help each client attain peace, happiness and permanent sobriety. With more than 30 years of experience in the treatment of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, eating disorders and trauma, our passionate team of doctors, therapists, and specialists provide nothing but the highest quality of care for every woman who walks through our doors.