Intimidated about indulging a little too much at that upcoming Halloween party? Try these 7 tricks to avoid Halloween weight gain!
#1 Eat a spoonful of coconut butter (aka coconut manna), nut butter, half an avocado, or a handful of almonds, pecans, hazelnuts or cashews beforehand.
Ideally, sweets should come after you eat fat-rich food.
Why? Because fat most stabilizes blood sugar and insulin (yes, even over protein).
You’ll feel more satiated for the long run having eaten fat, so you’ll be less likely to overeat sweet trigger foods.
(Note: while protein is satiating, its effects don’t last as long as fat’s do. So feel free to include protein in your pre-party snackins, but don’t leave them at just protein.)
Nutiva’s Coconut Manna is a delicious organic sustainbly-sourced treat. It tastes sweet, but barely has any sugar (one gram per tablespoon).
#2 Drink plenty of water.
Many times when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually just thirsty–and when you’re thirsty you’re actually already dehydrated!
Your staying hydrated before the party with fresh filtered water helps you tell the difference between true hunger and cravings.
You’ll also flush out toxins faster and more efficiently if you have an alcoholic beverage.
It’s important to drink water at the party as well. Most social gatherings should have water, but when in doubt pack your own filled purse-friendly reusable water bottle!
#3 Pack your own dark chocolate squares (80% cocoa or higher).
The greater the cocoa content, the less sugar there is in chocolate, and (I would argue) the more delicious it is!
Opt for Fair Trade and organic when possible.
#4 Skip the sugary mixed drinks.
Opt for water, sparkling water, or sparkling water infused with slices of lime, lemon, cucumber and/or herbs (rosemary is delicious with lime and cucumber!).
If you do drink, limit alcohol to 1-1/2 oz combined with club soda, lemon/lime juice, a splash of cranberry juice, and/or muddled berries, mint leaves, or fresh grated ginger. You can even sugar the glass-rim. Just remember to eat according to #1 (above) beforehand!
#5 Swap sugar for stevia in treat recipes.
Stevia is a natural non-caloric sweetener up to 300 times sweeter than table sugar, derived from a succulent-like plant native to South America.
Studies have shown stevia can help lower blood pressure in people with elevated blood pressure, that it doesn’t affect normal blood pressure, can help diabetics stabilize blood sugar, and can even help boost the immune system, prevent water retention and provide antitumor effects.1,2,3,4
I won’t lie: some stevia varieties can taste yucky. I’ve used stevia for about 15 years, and this has been my favorite kind of stevia for around a decade.
Don’t hate on stevia until you’ve tried enough brands to find the right one for you.
Also, make sure to go for organic varieties, and avoid brands that lace stevia with other sweeteners (i.e. in Truvia, stevia is the secondary ingredient to the sugar alcohol erythritol).
Just remember: you don’t want to go too overboard with sweeteners, even safer sweeteners like stevia. Sweet, no matter what its source, triggers an addictive response in the brain. The more sweet you introduce to your tongue, the less able you are to tell when you’re satisfied. As with everything, enjoy stevia in moderation. If you approach food this way, you’re able to let your body do what it needs to do, and you stay in the driver’s seat.
But in general, and for those special occasions like Halloween, stevia is your smartest go-to sweetener.
When you substitute stevia for sugar in recipes, do so on a “to taste” basis, as stevia is much sweeter than sugar, and different brands of stevia can taste different in different recipes.
Stevia offers a lot of room for culinary creativity while helping you to avoid Halloween weight gain.
#6 Use mints, or flavored toothpicks (i.e. tea tree oil and cinnamon) after you enjoy something sweet.
Send a signal to your brain via your tongue that you’re done eating with some flavored toothpicks, like these. As simple as this may sound, this trick (the next best thing to actually brushing your teeth) can be highly effective to avoid Halloween weight gain!
#7 The day of, and the day after the party, eat a lots of low-starch veggies, along with fat-and-protein-rich foods (whole eggs, full-fat meat and dairy (if tolerated)), and drink plenty of water.
Give your body a tasty, loving upper hand. Of course, you should ideally be eating this way every day! And if you do follow the above six tricks to avoid Halloween weight gain, you won’t need “rebound” time anyway.
Now go have a smart, ghoulishly healthy and delicious holiday!
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Image copyright Ruth Black, “Orange and Black Halloween Cookies”