In some ways, Halloween is the toughest holiday to navigate when you’re dieting. While most seasonal festivities involve food, this one involves candy, one of the most irresistible sugar delivery systems ever invented. It’s sweet, delicious and almost addicting. With so much candy around, you need diet tricks and treats to stay on plan.
You can avoid candy the rest of the year (if you exert willpower in the supermarket checkout line) but on Halloween, you bring tons of it into your house to give away. Then your kids bring more. You may try to limit yourself to “just one,” but that gives way to “just one of each” and before you know it, those bite-sized morsels turn into unwanted pounds.
If you don’t have trick-or-treaters at home, you could skip the holiday altogether. Keep the porch light off and hide in the dark. Better yet, leave it off and go out to dinner until the ghosts and goblins are back home in bed. If there’s no way out, you can use these creative diet tricks to help you get through the week safely. You’ll see that we’ve paired each trick with a Nutrisystem treat. The first trick will tell you why!
Here are 11 diet tricks and treats to keep you on track this Halloween:
1. Don’t deprive yourself.
Trick: One of the worst things you can do is avoid your favorite treats. When dieting is all about “no,” you’re more likely to fail, says a 2016 study by researchers at Baylor University. Their research found that successful dieters are the ones who focus on the healthy foods they can eat, not the ones they think they need to avoid. Check out recipe section on The Leaf for smart candy swaps. You’ll love these Chocolate Pumpkin Truffle Balls! >
Treat: No need to purchase store-bought candy. Nutrisystem’s Chocolate Caramel Bar is the perfect replacement. It’s a crispy combination of milk chocolate and sweet caramel that you can enjoy for just 150 calories.
2. Buy candy the day of Halloween.
Trick: Tell the truth— Have you bought Halloween candy weeks in advance and then had to buy it all over again because you and the entire family wiped it out? Try to keep candy in the house for the shortest amount of time possible. In fact, if you can, buy it on Halloween. It’s likely to be on sale then, too.
Treat: Now that you’ve saved calories and money, indulge in Nutrisystem’s deliciously crunchy Dark Chocolaty Sea Salt Nut Square. It’s filled with a medley of sea salt-dusted nuts and covered in a drizzle of dark chocolate flavor. Best of all, it’s only 190 calories and has ZERO grams of added sugar. No candy can say that!
3. Pick candy you don’t like.
Trick: When you’re candy shopping, be sure to stay away from your favorites. Choose candies that the kids love but you don’t. If you love chocolate, choose fruity and sour gummy candies. Are you a sucker for hard candy? Buy sticky taffy or toffee. Purchase the sweets that you don’t like (but they do) and you’ve kept yourself away from temptation.
Treat: If you’re a chocolate lover, you can feel free to indulge in Nutrisystem’s NutriChocolaty Wafers! They’re a fun treat that can replace any unhealthy chocolate bar. You can even melt them to create chocolate covered fruit and nuts.
4. Don’t let yourself get hungry.
Trick: Candy may always be tempting. However, you may be less likely to give in if you’ve eaten plenty of healthy, fiber-rich meals all day before you’re faced with bowls and bags of sweet treats. Don’t save any calories for Halloween candy. Make sure you feel too full to eat another thing.
Treat: If you do have a little room left, Nutrisystem’s Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies are bite-sized treats that go great with a glass of skim milk. At only 150 calories, they’re packed with seven grams of protein and three grams of fiber to satisfy your sweet tooth.
5. Be the parent (or grandparent) who goes trick or treating.
Trick: Turn your kids’ trick-or-treating into a little exercise for yourself. Walk the neighborhood with them and while they’re at the door getting treated, do a little jogging in place.
Treat: For a great post-workout recovery treat, grab a Nutrisystem Lemon Cooler Cookie. These zesty, sugar-dusted cookies are only 140 calories and can squash any lemony candy craving you may have.
6. Stash the stash.
Trick: Have someone else in the household hide the Halloween candy so temptation is out of sight and out of mind. Just don’t ask the kids to hide it because you may never see it again. And don’t go looking for it!
Treat: You won’t care where the candy is when you know exactly where you’re keeping your Nutrisystem Chocolate Flavored Pretzels. They have the sweet and salty taste you love with only 140 calories. The five grams of protein and three grams of fiber make them ultra-satisfying.
7. Chew gum.
Trick: Chewing gum is a great way to fight temptation. A study, published in the journal Appetite, found that chewing gum is a simple way to modestly control appetite. In their research, people that chewed gum ate 68 fewer calories at lunch. Sugar free gum is a Free Food on Nutrisystem, so feel free to chew away those cravings!
Treat: Toss your gum away for a few minutes to enjoy Nutrisystem’s Snickerdoodle Cookie. It’s a soft-baked, whole grain cookie dusted with cinnamon, the spice of the season. With only 130 calories, it’s sure to spice up your Halloween.
8. Freeze your kids’ candy.
Trick: Keep both you and your youngsters from eating all the candy in one sitting by freezing their Halloween hauls. Parse out a few pieces they can eat each day. Not only are you eliminating temptation for you, you’re also giving your kids a great message about not overeating sweets.
Treat: Something you can eat frozen is our Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich. With vanilla flavored ice cream between two chocolate cookies, it clocks in at only 130 calories. You can even throw it in the blender to make this Ice Cream Sandwich Shake! >
9. Don’t hand out candy.
Trick: You can buy pencils and stickers or a bulk pack of Halloween toys from your local party or dollar store. You can also try online shopping for fun Halloween trinkets. Zero fat, zero sugar and zero calories!
Treat: While you’re rocking your new Halloween spider ring, dig into a Nutrisystem Chocolate Brownie Sundae. You’ll be scooping up decadent fudge ribbons and brownie chunks throughout creamy, chocolate ice cream. Bye, bye chocolate cravings!
10. Craving candy? Brush your teeth.
Trick: Diet tricks can seem difficult. However, some are as easy as brushing your teeth (literally)! Have you ever tried to eat or drink something sweet after brushing? If you have a candy craving, the magazine Popular Science recommends brushing those fangs. They explain that one of the chemicals in toothpaste, sodium laureth sulfate, temporarily squashes sweet taste bud receptors so candy doesn’t taste so yummy after you’ve brushed.
Treat: Don’t brush before you’ve treated yourself to our Chocolate Cupcake! At just 140 calories, it’s full of luscious, chocolatey goodness that you can feel good about enjoying.
11. Keep giving out candy after Halloween.
Trick: The last but certainly not the least of our diet tricks involves giving. Many organizations have started accepting donations and buying leftover Halloween candy to send to American troops. They put the candy in care packages and send them to troops all over the world. You can even create your own care packages and hand them out to those who are in need.
Treat: You’ve done a good deed. Treat yourself with a Nutrisystem Lemon Zest Cake. Drizzled with icing, this sweet treat contains only 140 calories.