And Now for a Little Indulgence…

We meant what we said when we suggested distributing healthy Halloween treats last week, but there is always room for a little indulgence, and the wonderful thing about Halloween candy is the portion control. With the exception of a few overly generous individuals who distribute full-sized bars, most of the treats come in tiny packages. Here is a 100 calorie list of candy you are likely to see in your travels next week:

 Candy                                     Approximate Amount to Equal 100 Calories

           Candy corn                              17 pieces

           Hershey’s Kisses                      4 pieces

            Reese’s Pieces                        26 pieces

            3 Musketeers (mini)                   4 bars

            Reese’s peanut butter

             cups (mini)                                    2

            Almond Joy  Fun Size                  1 bar

            Fun Size M&M’s –either plain

              or peanut                                    1 bag

            Dum Dum Lollipops                         5

             Tootsie Rolls                                   4

            Snickers  Fun Size                       1 bar

 Another thing we love about Halloween is that it encourages walking, and it is not only for kids. If you have  young school-aged children, you will be getting your share of exercise, but when they want to do just one more block and you are ready to call it a day, just say yes.

Do go to neighborhoods where the homes are far apart, and go early when residents are less likely to be home. Such tactics translates to more walking and less candy.  And if you don’t have children of your own, or they are too old to be seen with you, tag along with a niece, nephew or a friend’s child. It’s a holiday. The more the merrier!

So if you dread Halloween, focus on the good part of the holiday: healthy snacks, plenty of exercise in the fresh autumn air, the permission to play dress-up, and chocolate in controlled portions. Enjoy!



The Razor Blade Myth and Other Reasons Why We Should Favor Healthy Halloween Treats

imgresIn 1985, Best and Horiuchi published a journal article titled the “Razor Blade in the Apple: The Social Construction of Urban Legends” contending that threats of tainted Halloween candy have been widely exaggerated.

Today, we shy away from baking our own treats or giving out fruit, for example, because there is a lack of trust, even though the danger has been blown out of proportion. Instead, our children bring home pillow cases full of hermetically sealed  store-bought candy. While stockpiling candy may not appear to be a healthy thing to do, Halloween does invite a lot of walking, so while the sugary treats will certainly be present, at least there is exercise involved.

As adults, we can do things to encourage healthy eating, even on a holiday like Halloween. When we give out treats, we can favor healthier varieties in sealed packages. We can veer towards  pretzels,  nuts, popcorn, granola or non-food items. The holiday is two weeks away so we have time to create a solid strategy and stick with it.

An occasional treat is fine, but Halloween invites overkill with days of rationing and bargaining ahead. Giving out healthier options is not trickery. It is simply the smart thing to do.

Don’t let the cold keep you indoors

It is chilly outside, but while some of us will hang up our sneakers until spring’s first 5K, others will run straight through the winter, or they will participate in another outdoor sport. As autumn becomes winter, what will you do?

When the cool weather surfaces we like to sleep late, we tend to eat more and we generally slow down. We hibernate. But on some level, the cold weather brings challenges, and challenges are good.

The more we go outside in the cold, the more we can bear its wrath. Of course, it may take more than a few days to get used to the change. In his book Performing in Extreme Environments,  Lawrence Armstrong claims that it takes between 8 to 14 days to acclimate to a stressful environment. Of course, one can hardly call 59 degrees—the temperature it is right now in Central New Jersey—stressful. So adapting now, before it gets too cold, should be easy. Still, when we are used to the heat, the sudden drop can be disturbing so we go inside and bury ourselves under the blankets.

When we challenge our bodies, our bodies live up to it, and we are better for it. It may take a bit of a pep talk for us to get outside and get moving in the first place, but think of how good you will feel when you are back inside, knowing that you accomplished your goal despite the demanding conditions. Then take that long winter’s nap or sip a mug of hot apple cider and you will feel even better.

Welcoming Autumn

On Thursday, we suggested joining a sports team as part of the transition from summer to autumn. Not only do we think about new sports as the seasons change, but we also think about starting another year.

September begins this Saturday and September, for many of us, signals the start of a new period. Many calendars start in September and provide 16 months of planning. The Jewish New Year is in September. Here in the Northeast, it is the beginning of the school year. And this year, the autumnal equinox is on September 22nd.

While resolutions are usually only associated with January, September ushers in a time of renewal. The flowers die, but the cool breeze thankfully returns. So now is a time to plan. Are there changes you want to make? There is no need to wait until January 1st. With summer over, now is the perfect time to dream about what you want for the upcoming year.