How To Steer Clear of Leftover Halloween Candy

halloween-silouette-web-1024x790.jpgAmericans spend over $2 billion on Halloween candy every year. That’s a lot of candy! Even if you’re not a candy consumer and you’ve stocked up on treats, not sweets to hand out to doorbell ringing goblins, super heroes, Disney characters, and whatnots, if you have little trick-or-treaters of your own, a whole lot of Halloween candy is going to enter your house with them at the end of the evening. By my own experience and from the anecdotal reports from my friends, I feel confident in presuming that although not part of your plans and totally in spite of your best intentions and steely resolve, you might – albeit regrettably – find yourself wrist deep in the plastic pumpkin. Parents this post provides tips to help you avoid the sugar madness that is Halloween and steer clear of leftover candy.

candy-pumpkin-web-300x233.jpgGet it out of the house!

Invite the Switch Witch or the Candy Fairy to leave a non-edible gift in exchange for leftover Halloween candy. The kids will be excited to get a new toy, which makes giving up candy a lot easier. Then you can get it out of the house by donating it to a shelter or to the military. Operation Gratitude and Operation Shoebox are two organizations that accept candy donations for our troops. In addition, many dentists, doctors, orthodontists, gyms and community centers participate in Halloween candy buy-back programs where your child receives healthier treats, cash or a toy for donating candy. You can find a buy-back program in your area here. If you feel that candy is an unsuitable gift for anyone no matter what their circumstances, throw your unwrapped candy in the garbage (because it really is garbage) and recycle the wrappers.

paleo-web-1024x280.jpgEat a healthy diet.

Go Paleo! You’re less likely to give into cravings if you’re well nourished. Set aside a few hours on the weekends to prepare healthy meals and snacks composed of plenty pastured meats, wild fish, veggies, fruit, nuts, and seeds. It’s far better to reach for a handful of homemade goodies made from real food than it is to dip into the plastic Halloween pumpkin for highly processed, sugar laden, preservative filled, pesticide laced, GMO junk food.

wake-up-web-300x199.jpgGet adequate sleep.

Many studies have shown that we’re hungrier when we’re tired. For most of us, at least seven to eight hours of high quality sleep a night will help keep appetite regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin, in balance.

Manage stress and be aware of cues that spark emotional eating.

Halloween begins the eating season. It’s very important to take regular breaks from the hectic pace of the holidays to relax and get back to baseline emotionally so you’re not reaching into the candy stash for a sugar hug. How can you reduce stress?

  • Devoting just a few minutes several times a day to being present in the moment sport-jogging-concept-web-300x200.jpgthrough meditation or deep breathing (diaphragmatic breathing) is very calming both mentally and physiologically.
  • Maintain your regular exercise schedule and get outside for some sunshine as often as possible. Early morning sun helps regulate your body’s circadian clock and affects your hunger and satiety signals in a positive way.
  • Reach out to loved ones and maintain strong social connections for support.
  • thank-you-web-300x200.jpgPractice an attitude of gratitude by journaling experiences that make you happy. Reading your journal entries during times of stress will remind you of what’s good in your life and worth holding on to.

Selected References

PLOS Medicine Journal

Marks Daily Apple

Sally Barden JohnsonSally Barden Johnson

Sally Johnson, RDN, LD is a registered and licensed dietitian and health coach. She is an avid CrossFitter and enjoys working with clients to find the best nutritional solutions within a Paleo/Primal framework to solve their health issues. She also enjoys spending time with her family. She can be found on Instagram at