Healthy Alternatives for Halloween and Thanksgiving
The next few weeks will be filled with candy corn, apple cider, pumpkin spiced lattes, pie and all your favorite fall comfort foods – already loosening your belt buckle? Children aren’t the only ones tempted by treats at the holidays. Holiday indulgences are everywhere you need and want to be – at work and with friends and family. Adults who strive to eat healthy often dread the dietary temptations presented at this time of year.
Eupehbe’s Executive Director of Nutrition and Strategic Development, Kayleen St. John, a registered dietician, gives her top three tips for surviving Halloween and Thanksgiving below:
Have a healthy Halloween – It doesn’t have to be scary!
- Not all chocolate is equal: Instead of the low quality chocolate-like candy you might find at your office, instead arm yourself with a bar of 85 percent dark chocolate to help fight the urge. In addition to antioxidants, dark chocolate also has a great deal of fiber making a few squares a win-win.
- BYOT (bring your own treats): If you’re constantly faced with Halloween candy at work, bring in your own treats. Halve a few bananas, stick popsicle sticks in the bottom and freeze them. Once frozen, dip in melted dark chocolate and refreeze. Your office will thank you for the tasty and indulgent-feeling treat.
- If you must indulge, choose wisely: If you can’t fight the urge any longer, opt for a small packet – a palmful – of Goobers or Raisinettes. At the very least, you’ll be getting some protein from the peanuts and a bit of fiber from the raisins, but still candy of course.
Surviving Thanksgiving – Leave the stuffing to the turkey
- Keep passing the bread basket: Focus on seasonal starches, and skip the bread basket and rolls. The traditional Thanksgiving meal is quite carbohydrate or starch heavy – think mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, desserts, etc. With all of those seasonal starches, you’re better off avoiding the bread basket entirely and choosing one to two seasonal starches to enjoy.
- Skip the sweet potato casserole: It usually contains maple syrup and marshmallows. Instead, roast sweet potatoes or butternut squash with coconut oil and cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice for a warming, sweet side dish.
- You can have your cake and eat it too: Dessert…choose one, and enjoy the heck out of it. If you’re making the dessert to bring, reduce the sugar by 50 percent, and it will still be enjoyed – promise!
We should all enjoy the holidays as much as possible, including the special foods and traditions they include. But a bit of modification and moderation may allow us to enjoy them even more, without waking up the next day with regret for abandoning the good habits we’ve celebrated all year long.
To reach Kayleen St. John MS, RD, contact Euphebe, a new food and coaching program that makes it easy to break the cycle of cravings, helps navigate the temptations and currently offers healthy alternatives to the not-so-healthy snacks and treats associated with autumn.