Trick-or-Treat Hacks

Trick-or-Treat Hacks

Whoa there Nelly! It’s Halloween, the start of a three-month long season that’s almost guaranteed to add eight pounds of adipose tissue to everyone, especially those with weak willpower. Don’t you be one of the unthinking nurses who snacks right out of your skinny jeans.

On the plus side, nurses have a lot of practice saying no to treats from well-meaning doctors, administrators, and families throughout the year. On the minus side, the opportunities to over-indulge are incredibly plentiful right about now.

Make today that first day of a strict holiday noshing policy – decide beforehand what you will and won’t treat yourself to this season, then stick to it. (Here’s a mantra one nurse repeats when she’s faced with sweet or savory goodies: “I like myself too much to eat junk.”)

Having a healthy eating mantra is just one “hack” can come in handy during the holidays. (Life-hacks are tips and tricks for making everyday parts of life run better.) Here are a few others:

Remember that you can say No to a treat today and still eat it at another time and place. Examples: Snacks and desserts at home, the homes of friends and family, at church or other places in your community. Holidays keep multiplying — Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Solstice, New Year’s Eve. And don’t forget the birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and other festive events where food is a big part of the celebration.

Here’s a counter-intuitive approach that works well for some: call a cease-fire in the battle of the bulge. On Halloween it’s almost impossible to avoid candy anyway. As long as you don’t scarf down  the sweet stuff, you can partake of a few fun-sized pieces of candy (or squares of really good dark chocolate!) without busting your health goals.

Check out the calorie count in these candy favorites:

Fun-size candy bar = 80 calories

2 bite-size peanut butter cups = 90 calories

2 bite-size chocolates = 90 calories

If you know that you can’t resist a Halloween sweet stash, it may be best to buy bags of your least favorite candy for the kiddies. (Necco wafers are nobody’s favorite, so don’t make the little goblins suffer that much!)

If you end up with loads of candy after the trick-or-treaters are gone, see if your dentist is offering a candy “buy back” for patients or neighborhood kids. Donate your left-overs – often those boxes of candy get sent to troops who appreciate the sweet gesture.)

You would be smart to brush after partaking of sugary treats, to save your teeth, even if you aren’t doing your waistline any favor.

If you have steely self-discipline, you can always set out fruits, vegetables, air-popped popcorn or another super low-calorie treat.

Pass the radish-roses, please!

Jebra Turner is a writer in Portland, Oregon. She blogs about workplace health at