Happy Halloween! For most of us, Halloween has a lot less to do with goblins and vampires, and a lot more to do with candy, cookies, and other treats. If you have an event coming up that you need to look or perform a certain way, maybe lay off the Snicker’s bar, but if you’re like our members and your focus is on holistic health that includes real life events, having a piece of your favorite candy to celebrate Halloween is not going to throw you off your nutrition program and away from your goals.
How many treats is too many?
I like to refer to things like cookies, candy, pizza, and chips as treats rather than cheats. Words matter emotionally, and constantly telling people why they have messed up, and why they’re cheating on their nutrition plan is simply a bad idea.
You are cheating. You aren’t a bad person. You aren’t being unfaithful to your nutrition. It is just nutrition.
You simply made the adult decision to have a treat instead of your normal food. This is the other reason I don’t love the term cheat. It implies that your usual nutrition plan is so far away from enjoyment and sustainability that you have to have a little side relationship with your favorite foods. If your favorite foods don’t fit into your nutrition plan, your nutrition plan sucks.
So is Halloween candy good?
Good and bad operate on a spectrum. For example, the general consensus on almonds is that they are a good, healthy food. Lots of omega three (that’s anti-inflammatory) fats, some protein, and fiber. Good food. But what about right before a workout?
Go ahead and eat a handful of almonds right before you workout sometime and tell me how you feel. The high fat and high fiber counts in almonds will now make you feel like running to the restroom rather than running your next lap.
The same thing applies to Halloween candy and other treats around holidays. While the general consensus on a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup is that it is unhealthy (no matter how delicious) we still should think about it in context. If you’re hanging out on Halloween or celebrating with your friends later, having a Reese’s cup or two is not going to crash your diet. It’s 200-300 calories over the course of your life. Relax. Because if going cold turkey and being the person who doesn’t eat candy around Halloween is going to make you binge eat your entire fridge and pantry on November 1, 2, and 3 you just 10x’d the negativity of your food choices.
It is all about your personal goals and desires.
Look, if you simply don’t WANT to eat candy, don’t! There’s no need for societal pressure to make you do things you don’t want to do. If you don’t like candy, don’t eat. Don’t go searching for treats just because of a day on the calendar.
On the flip side, if you’re hanging out on Halloween (or any other day) and feel like a piece of candy will help you feel more engaged with your relationships in the moment, go ahead and indulge. It’s okay. In fact, it is probably better than trying to stick it out and the indulging all alone on a pint of ice cream later. We’ve all been there. Don’t do it this time.