Of Butterfingers and Balance

With Halloween approaching, it’s inevitable that there will be plenty of tempting Halloween candy either at home, work or both. It’s important to come up with some strategies both for you and your kids that will allow everyone to enjoy the sweets, but not totally turn to the dark side of unhealthy eating. Even at my house, we give away candy, not apples or boxes of raisins on Halloween. We do, however, go through the candy at the end of the night with the kids, allow them to pick a few pieces to have that night and save the rest in plastic storage bags to be eaten at a reasonable pace and in a reasonable amount. Of course, it is often easier to impose controls on our kids for the eating of sweets than it is to control ourselves.

One of the nice things about Halloween candy is that unlike at the movies where the boxes are all extra large, Halloween candies often come in small servings. This means you can sample without necessarily taking in all those calories. Now, I could suggest you try and pick “healthier” candies like Raisinets (my favorites), but for many that just won’t be satisfying. Certainly reading labels and noting the calories may help you to decide between two candies to eat, or to moderate your intake if weight is an issue for you. Also, having healthy “sweet” alternatives like some dried fruit in the office to eat when others are hitting the candy bowl works for some.

I always like to remind myself that life is about balance. Of course that means that if around Halloween you increase your intake of candy moderately, you should balance that out by increasing your exercise and intake of healthy foods moderately. I would consider tightening up your intake on other things that you might use to reward yourself or as a treat, like the ice cream or chips.

If you’re going to eat that candy, you should enjoy it fully and guilt free. Just don’t go overboard. In fact, you might even use this time of the year and your increased candy intake to do some things you’ve wanted to do for awhile, like increasing that exercise or improving other aspects of your diet you can maintain long after the Halloween bag is empty. It’s also an opportunity to teach your children some of that same control and balance.

Adam Perlman, meQuilibrium Chief Medical Officer