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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Healthier Halloween

Here are some tips to help you navigate this fun but tricky time of year in the healthiest way possible.


  • Don’t let Halloween candy sneak into your snack-routine.  If you buy your treats early – keep them in an out-of-the-way place (freezer) so it’s not a temptation every time you open the pantry. 
  • Have a crunchy, sweet crave? Go with a smarter choice like a KIND bar.  With a transparent ingredient list – you know just what you’re getting and it is real food full of fiber, and satisfying chewy-crunchiness.  And just in time for fall, they’ve got a fun new flavor: Maple Pumpkin Seed. 
  • Make sure your healthy habits are in place such as drinking lots of water, regular exercise etc.

Day of:

  • Involve your kids in planning your Halloween dinner.  This will help them get excited about the fun or favorite food they'll be having that night.  
  • Make dinner first and candy second a family rule.  If you have a hard time selling this one - remind them of past Halloweens and the pains of garbage gut, and assure them that candy or treats will happen - just in the right order.  
  • The average trick or treater consumes 3 cups of sugar from their Halloween candy stash so it pays to thin it out. Encourage kids to keep the treats that are their favorites, and get rid of the less-appealing (you can usually cut the stash in half right off).
  • Be wise in choosing the treats you'll give out.  Don't end up with a houseful of candy because you over bought.  Instead, try healthier or non-food items:
            - Honey sticks (that is our treat for trick or treaters this year - yes it has something to do with our excitement over becoming beekeepers as well).  One honey stick contains about 15 calories - that's only slightly less than 4 grams of sugar.  Fun sweet fix without a sugar overload.
             - Bubble bottles.  No one is ever too old to blow bubbles.  Period. 
             - Glow sticks.  Again - encourages healthy, safe play instead of sugar-coma.
  • Get a nice walk in with your kids as they trick or treat – not only does that improve their safety, but your health as well.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Avoid the Fall 5

Students may fear the freshman 15, but most American’s have their own perceived weight gain that hits every year.   Once October hits, it seems like the extended holiday season has begun and people start to worry about gaining weight.  Most American’s believe they gain 5 pounds between October and January.  The good news is that the reality is that on average, weight gain over the holiday season is 1-3 pounds (depending on what you consider to be the start of the holiday season). 

So what strategies do you need to have in place to avoid the feeling of having gained this fall 5 lbs. - phantom or not?  Here are 4 tips to keep you on track as cold weather drives us to cozier habits. 

  1. Embrace seasonal produce.  To say that there’s not as much healthful produce this time of year is simply untrue.  Each season brings its own nutritional goodness to the table and taking advantage of seasonal fruits and veggies means more balanced nutrition, less calorie overload.  
  2. Keep salads in your meal routine.  The style of your salad may change as the temperature drops, but whether it’s a roasted veggie tabbouleh , a bean and barley taco salad or a spinach, citrus and pomegranate side salad  being a year-round salad eater will only improve your health and help on your quest to incorporate meatless meals. 
  3. Re-evaluate your couch routine.  With shorter daylight and colder temperatures, we are often driven to our couches earlier and for longer binge-watching sessions this time of year.  Set some personal parameters, and consider picking up a new hobby to shake up your relaxation routine.
  4. Get up and go! Whether you dig a battery for that long-lost pedometer, bundle up and brave the outdoors with a brisk walk, or create a new favorites list of youtube exercise videos, don’t fall out of your exercise routine.  Set some fitness goals for the cold months whether you want to increase the length of your wall-sit or number of crunches and sit-ups.  Keeping physical activity at the forefront will keep weight gain, real or imagined at bay.  

Friday, October 7, 2016

Help! Halloween and the Candy Craze

Halloween is coming and how do we enjoy the festivities without the sugar coma?

  • Put away the candy dish or fill it with cherry tomatoes.  No need to be noshing on mediocre sweets all month under the guise of being festive.
  • Focus more on your good eating habits - be sure to drink 8 glasses of water and try to get 9 servings of fruits and veggies in.
  • Stick to a regular meal schedule - don't skip meals in anticipation or imagined penance for candy consumption.  Halloween candy is not a meal substitute, and keeping healthy foods in your routine allows less room for excess sweets.  
  • Plan out and enjoy the anticipation of your favorite treats.  Mindfully eating a few pieces of your favorite candy is much preferred over mindlessly eating whatever is at hand.
  • Prioritize your candy consumption.  Have a piece or two of only your very favorites.  It's not worth wasting calories on mediocre sweets.
  • Have a plan in place for leftover candy.  Whether you donate it to the food bank, toss it in the garbage or save a few favorites in the freezer for later enjoyment, make a plan and stick to it - don't leave it out on the counter to tempt you the next few days.  (Notice I didn't say send the leftovers to work?  Healthy eating at work is hard enough without a bowl of Halloween-dregs candy at every turn.
  • October is a fabulous month to be outdoors on bike rides, hikes or walks or even inside with fun crafts, so don’t fritter this fun month away on the couch filling the cushions with empty candy wrappers.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Navigating a Healthy Halloween

In a nutshell (not a candy-coated shell), here's the basics on enjoying a happy yet healthy Halloween.