5 Tips for a Healthy and Balanced Halloween

There’s no use pretending — we’re all going to eat candy on Halloween, aren’t we? And that means we’re going to put our metabolic health to the test, year after year. But food should be fun, especially around the holidays! So, we’ve put together a few strategies to help you eat those sweet treats with a *relatively* clean conscience. 

#1. Walk to a Different Neighborhood for Trick-or-Treating

Luckily, physical activity is built right into the tradition of trick-or-treating. One of the best ways to mitigate the metabolic challenges associated with Halloween is to prioritize physical activity. Research has shown that light walking for 30 minutes improves blood glucose response to candy bar consumption.

So try to accumulate at least 30 minutes of walking by visiting the houses further away from your own neighborhood. For some reason, those are always the ones with the best candy anyway, aren’t they? Accumulating more activity will help you to burn the Calories and sugar from your candy, so that sugar gets put to use rather than getting stored for later.

#2. Eat Dinner First

Research data demonstrate that when we specifically arrange our meals and snacks so that we eat carbohydrates last, our blood glucose response can improve. So have a lower carb dinner before going out to forage for candy. Having a full meal before the festivities might also keep you from overconsuming sugar at the end of the night. 

#3. Choose Candies with Nuts and Nut Butters

(As long as you aren’t allergic!) Not all candy is created equal. While some candy contains only sugar, other treats contain proteins and fats because they include nuts or nut butters or even bits of coconut. These are the ones that you should try to select. Although there is limited data on candy within the scientific literature, we do know that if you eat sugar along with protein and fat that it can help your body to stabilize your glucose response more effectively.

#4. Eat Fiber Alongside Your Candy.

If you include some fiber with your high sugar and candy consumption this Halloween, you can reduce candy’s dramatic BG effects. Enjoy a fiber-containing snack while you are out trick or treating – almonds are a great option! A single serving of Almonds can reduce blood glucose response by up to 30%. Nuts, like almonds, contain fiber, healthy fats, and protein all of which can help your body with high sugar intake.

#5. Try Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Before You Trick-or-Treat

A small shot of ACV before you eat sugar can help your body to handle glucose more effectively, by reducing BG spikes. Several research studies have shown that when 1-2 tablespoons of ACV is consumed with carbohydrate-rich meals BG response can be reduced 25-30%. In fact, high-glycemic index foods (like candy) contribute to stronger BG dampening effects of ACV than low-glycemic index foods. If you can’t wrap your taste buds around a sour shot of vinegar, try mixing it into a glass of water or iced tea. 

Even with plentiful candy consumption, Halloween doesn’t have to be a metabolic disaster. Try a few of the above hacks, and let us know which ones worked best for you!

References

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Shishehbor F, Mansoori A, Shirani F. Vinegar consumption can attenuate postprandial glucose and insulin responses; a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2017 May;127:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2017.01.021. Epub 2017 Mar 2. PMID: 28292654.

Ostman E, Granfeldt Y, Persson L, Björck I. Vinegar supplementation lowers glucose and insulin responses and increases satiety after a bread meal in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Sep;59(9):983-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602197. PMID: 16015276.

Liatis S, Grammatikou S, Poulia KA, Perrea D, Makrilakis K, Diakoumopoulou E, Katsilambros N. Vinegar reduces postprandial hyperglycaemia in patients with type II diabetes when added to a high, but not to a low, glycaemic index meal. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jul;64(7):727-32. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2010.89. Epub 2010 May 26. PMID: 20502468.

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