Happy Halloween! I realize eating healthy may not be the easiest thing to do today especially if you’re surrounded by incoming or outgoing candy but please keep reading for that extra bit of motivation we all need.
With the change of seasons and all the festive occasions especially at this time of the year, it is extremely easy to fall into eating meals that are filled with an array of tempting comfort foods rather than otherwise healthier options. As the weather gets colder, I think it is easier to let our levels of physical activity decline as well because we may not be going outside as frequently.
In trying to proactively change that, I’m finding that having a plan for how to stay healthy in advance of any festivities can make all the difference.
Here are 10 easy strategies that can help with prioritizing good nutrition and health especially at this time of the year:
- Plan for days such as this and give yourself a specific calorie allowance for candy or other indulgences. Allow for a specific amount and then be disciplined about stashing the rest away in the freezer to give away or to have in small amounts at other times. Halloween is an especially good day to rein in the desire to have candy or cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner and to prepare healthy options for the week ahead.
- If you’re planning on a get together, take a something healthy with you or invite others over for a meal with mostly healthy options. Drink water and eat a healthy and filling snack before a big meal so you’re not tempted by the treats as much.
- Shop for fresh fruit, vegetables and other healthy non-processed foods so you have healthy snack and meal options during the week.
- Sit down with a pen and paper before going grocery shopping the next time. Figure out any gaps in your diet along with gaps in your pantry. Are you getting enough high quality fiber, protein and fresh produce in your diet? If not add items to your grocery list that will bump up the quality of your diet during the week. Try a fruit or vegetable new to you. Find ways to make a healthy diet interesting and appealing.
- Keep some healthy, emergency snacks in your bag or near you at all times so if you’re starving and don’t have access to healthy options, you will have something on hand to tide you over. This could be a handful of nuts, a piece of fresh fruit, 2 squares of dark chocolate or a small container of trail mix or healthy granola.
- Don’t allow for exercise to fall by the wayside. Keep fitting in blocks of activity even if you have to be creative.
- If you usually crave sweets more during this season, focus on adding foods that are high in protein and fiber (like fresh salads and lean protein) to your diet and eliminating foods that are high in sugar and processed ingredients (think breads, processed snacks and dessert) so you feel full and can keep those cravings at bay.
- Don’t allow that one piece of pie or candy to have the power to make you feel guilty or to push you into the mode of “well, this day isn’t going well, I might as well have 10 more pieces”. Enjoy that one piece of pie, allow for it, and then stick to your plan of being prepared with healthy options for the rest of your day.
- Hydrate even more than usual. It is surprisingly easy to forget about drinking water in colder months. Automate your process for drinking water. Consider drinking 2 glasses of water when you wake up and a glass of water every time you walk into your kitchen. If you’re programmed to do that, it’ll be easy stay consistent with drinking enough water to stay hydrated during the day.
- Enjoy the season. Keep your plan in mind and then take the time to enjoy all the festivities or cozy at-home times during these fall-winter months.
What are some of your strategies for staying healthy during this season?