If you think Halloween is just for kids… think again. From costumes to candy, adults are definitely fond of Halloween festivities. Candy can be found in abundance around Halloween. In fact, I like to think of Halloween as the “unofficial” kick-off to the holiday season. It’s not long after Halloween that we’ll have to call on our willpower to resist the temptations of Thanksgiving and Christmas treats. Setting the tone early, around Halloween time, to practice reigning in your cravings is the key to making your holiday season fun and as guilt-free as possible.

Here are 10 tips to help you resist the urge to give in to a Halloween candy binge:

  1. Just enough. If you plan to hand out candy to kids going door-to-door, make sure you buy candy you don’t like. You will avoid binging the inevitable leftovers that you will have. If you have a sweet tooth, like me, and all candy seems too good to resist, make sure you buy in small quantities. It’s better to run out of candy for trick-or-treaters than to be stuck in a stare down with the leftover candy. The candy will win.
  2. See no evil candy. If the people at your workplace are ga-ga for candy, then ask that they put their candy in a place that is out of sight. The phrase, “out of sight, out of mind,” is a good way to think about Halloween candy. The less you see it, the less likely you are to crave it.
  3. Chew gum. It may not be the greatest substitute for a chocolaty treat, it’s one way to keep you less occupied on eating handfuls of candy from your kid’s bag or your co-worker’s candy dish. In fact, gum has all sorts of uses. Chewing gum can help reduce cravings, relieve stress, and satisfy a sweet tooth among other things.
  4. Sweet treats. You can replace candy with other sweet indulgences. Fruit varieties and trail mixes are great alternatives to candy around Halloween. Try keeping a colorful bowl of fruit salad nearby in order to give yourself another snacking option.
  5. Indulge…a little. Sometimes, it is a good idea to allow yourself to eat just one piece of candy that you love. The bite size candy abundant at Halloween won’t ruin your diet. But remember, the idea is to satisfy your craving, not put yourself into a candy coma. One piece is all your need to get over the craving hump and keep your diet on track.
  6. Hide – don’t seek. Don’t place your candy dish in a very accessible place. If this tip sounds a lot like the tip in number 2 it’s because it is similar. When deciding where you want to place your child’s Halloween goodie bag, you will want to keep it out of reach from not only them, but you as well. Placing candy in a place that you have to inconvenience yourself to retrieve (say, the top of the fridge or on the highest shelf in the kitchen) you won’t be as tempted to graze the bag a few times a day.
  7. Walk it off. Sometimes we just need a change of scenery to help us forget about our cravings. Besides, on gorgeous San Diego afternoons, it’s nice to get up and take a walk around the block. Whether you’re at work or home, when you get moving you become less likely to think about whatever food you are craving. If you still want it when you get back, then see tip number 5. Otherwise, consider it crisis averted.
  8. Be sure to eat well during the day. When your body doesn’t get enough nutrients and calories, anything looks good to the eye. Instead of diving head-first into a bowl full of sweet goodies, eat a meal or small snack to ward off hunger. Candy will not satisfy your need to eat substantive food and it will create more calories for you to work off in your next workout.
  9. Stack your evidence. What that means is when you eat a piece of pint-sized Halloween candy, save the wrapper in plain sight. When you go to eat another and another, you will see just how many you have consumed and that may (and should) prompt you to slow down or cut off eating candy. If you’re really hungry, that’s your cue to eat a meal and not snack on empty calories.
  10. Drink, drink, drink. Being dehydrated can cause people to mistake thirst for hunger and overeat. When you want to reach for some Halloween candy, think about the last time you had some water. If it’s been a few hours, then it’s time to pour yourself some water and enjoy.

Halloween doesn’t have to be scary for your diet. By following these 10 simple tips, you can make sure you stay on track with your eating to maximize your workouts!