Monday, October 31, 2011

For an obese nation, eating tips on Halloween!

On Halloween, an obese nation needs to try and use smart eating techniques!

In Q3 2011, over 60% of the U.S. population was either overweight or obese. While this was an improvement over the year before, it is still an abysmal result.

Halloween, the day of candy and chocolate, presents an easy opportunity to gorge on food that includes some of the worst for anyone trying to control their calorie intake.

So on Halloween, good things don't always come in small packages!

According to a study done at the University of Alberta by Jennifer Argo, "consumption behaviours change when it comes to treats like chocolates and candies are placed in smaller packages. She says that people eat more of a product when it is placed in small packages rather that a regular-sized packages." (Science Daily)

Another trick is to keep the empty candy wrappers in plain sight.

Here are a few more:

1) Out of sight, out of mind.

If you keep a candy dish with a whole potpourri of Halloween candy on your desk at work, rather than just dumping it, move it away 5, 10 feet. In studies we've done with secretaries with dishes of chocolate candy on their desk, we found that by simply moving the candy dishes farther away, the secretaries ate considerably less. It takes more work to get up and walk to the opposite side of the room to grab a Hershey's kiss than when it's sitting right next to your stack of papers that needs to be faxed.

Similarly, when your kids come home after hours of trick-or-treating, don't just empty out their pillow cases onto a serving bowl in the middle of the dining room table and let everyone have at it whenever they want. You'll quickly find your kids spending as much time at the dining room table as they do in front of the TV.

2) Don't give up your job as nutritional gatekeeper.

Control the amount your family eats -- let your kids enjoy the fruits (would that it were literal) of their labor a little bit, and then take away the stash. Divvy it out over a period of time -- perhaps allow a couple pieces after they've eaten their dinner, set a limit of x number of pieces a day, etc. etc. How you go about it is up to you, but remember your job as the nutritional gatekeeper. After all, without you monitoring your family's consumption, Halloween will not only come once a year, it will last just one day.

3) Redesign your daily eating habits to accommodate the extra calories that Halloween brings on.

Let's face it -- if kids can go out and get a bag full of free candy, chances are it's not going to go to waste. But don't let it be tacked in addition to other unhealthy eating habits. For instance, if your kids have a "goody" every night after dinner, let the Halloween candy be the "goody" that takes the place of the ice cream, brownies, or whatever they normally might have. The same goes for you -- if you're eating out November 2 and can't decide whether you want dessert, remember that you probably have a considerable amount of Halloween candy left over at home. If you were to order dessert, you'd still be likely to, when you got home, sneak in a Twizzlers or Snickers bar. (Source)

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