Whether you have kids or not, Halloween can be a tricky time for any health-conscious adult. Big bags of “fun-size” candy fill grocery stores aisles for what feels like months (and then go on sale!), co-workers decorate their desks with bowls of “mini” candies for the office to enjoy, and our trick-or-treating children come home bearing pillowcases overflowing with confections. For those of you who fear the Halloween hangover as much as I do, here are five great ways to handle the Halloween candy overload, and still keep everyone happy this year:
1. Make a deal. If you have kids, let them trade in their Halloween candy for something they have wanted, like a new toy, trip to the movies or a fun activity with friends. You may find your kids are willing to sacrifice most of their Halloween haul for something fun. Once you’ve taken possession of those candy-filled pillowcases, get them out of the house. Operation Shoebox is one organization that accepts candy donations for U.S. troops.
2. Pick favorites. Why eat candy (and calories) you don’t truly love? Whether you (or your kids) are a Kit Kat fanatic or a Sour Patch person, keep only your absolute favorite candies and donate or ditch the rest. Putting a limit on the number of pieces you (or the kids) keep will make the decision process a lot easier.
3. Turn it into trail mix. Combine leftover candy with your favorite whole-grain cereal, nuts, and unsweetened dried fruit to make a sweet, snackable treat that provides long-lasting energy as well as protein, healthy fats, and fiber. M&Ms, candy corn, Reese’s Pieces all work great here!
4. Save it for holiday baking. Turn some of that Halloween candy into holiday treats to share with others. Bake up a Reese’s Stuffed Pie or this Snickers Skillet Cookie for a Thanksgiving potluck, or turn some of those chocolate bars into holiday cookies for your fav neighbors.
5. Freeze it for later. Fact: Frozen candy takes a lot longer to eat than candy sitting on your kitchen counter. Not only is it out of sight (and thus out of mind), it also needs to be at least semi-defrosted before you can enjoy it which will undoubtedly curb mindless candy consumption.
Hopefully, these tips help you handle the Halloween candy overload and minimize the sugar highs (and lows) of this tricky holiday!
For some healthier Halloween treats ideas, check out 10 Sweet Halloween Treats That Aren’t Candy.