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Tips from a dietitian: How to have a fearless Halloween

Wednesday - 10/30/2013, 7:47am  ET

PumpkinSoup_Halloween.jpg
Having a fun dinner before you go not only makes the whole day more enjoyable, but you will not be as hungry on your trick-or-treating journeys, and thus tempted to eat all of your candy. (Thinkstock)

Kait Fortunato, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON - As a dietitian, I hear a common fear start to emerge from my clients this time of year.

That fear is that the holidays, beginning with Halloween, will throw them off track and potentially ruin everything they've worked for.

While it is good to be thinking about obstacles, these fears should not add any additional stress to daily life, nor should they be an excuse to overindulge without any concern for balanced meals, self-care and moderation with treats.

There are ways you can embrace and enjoy this time of year -- and have a fearless Halloween. The next time you begin to fret, remember these tips:

  1. Halloween is just one day: Halloween is not a month-long event that leads up to the holiday, nor should it carry on the weeks following the fun day, despite all the discounted candy.

    Try not to keep candy in the house the entire month leading up to this day, as it can be very tempting to have it on hand.

    Also keep in mind that you should be enjoying treats on a regular basis. If you have been cutting these fun foods out or restricting your intake, Halloween can be an excuse to overdo it.

  2. Pick out your favorite candy following trick or treating: If you have children who like to go trick-or-treating, or are bringing home treats from school, take time for the whole family to pick out a few pieces you enjoy the most. Don't eat whatever comes into the house.

    There is no need to cut out all the candy, but rather just enjoy your favorites on your own terms. You can donate the rest of the candy or save it for the next party or school event to share with everyone.

  3. Have a fall-themed Halloween dinner: Before you go trick-or-treating, have a nice satisfying dinner so you and your children are not tempted to snack on candy as you go door-to-door.

    Impulsively eating treats as you get them is not as enjoyable as coming out, picking out your favorites and savoring each bite.

    Having a fun dinner before you go not only makes the whole day more enjoyable, but you will not be as hungry on your trick-or-treating journeys and will be less tempted to eat snacks.

  4. Enjoy other fall-related events: Remember that trick-or-treating and candy is just one fun part of the Halloween -- and holiday -- season. To really enjoy all aspects of this time, focus on other fun events your family can enjoy.

    Spoonful.com has plenty of ideas for activities when it comes to pumpkin carving, apple picking and Halloween crafts.

Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates and serves on the board for the DC Metro Area Dietetic Association. Kait focuses on individualizing her recommendations to have each client see results and live a healthier, more productive life, and she works to help people enjoy food and eat the foods they love. Kait lives in the D.C. area and loves trying new restaurants and activities around the city. Visit Kait's blog, Rebel Dietitian, and tweet her @Rebel_Dietitian for recipes, nutrition tips and activities in the Washington area.

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