How to Stop Halloween Treats from Derailing Your Healthy Eating Plan

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Normally my go-to advice for treats is not to keep them in the house – ever. If someone brings a pie to your house, make them leave with it. Or give it away to another guest. Or yes, throw it away. Make sure you don’t just rest it on top of the garbage either. Put some cat litter on top so you’re not tempted to go back for it.

My general rule is that if you ever really want a treat, go out and get a single serving. That way you still enjoy your life while keeping your environment safe. This is a keystone habit that makes eating healthily, and avoiding unhealthy foods, infinitely easier. That’s because instead of setting up an impossible to win tug-of-war between your willpower and your natural desire for delicious, sweet foods that light up the reward center of your brain like a centennial fireworks display, you avoid the situation entirely. Simple.

Think about it in practice: The choice between grabbing something healthy from the fridge or getting out of my PJ’s, dragging myself outside to the store to grab a tub of ice cream is bound to win. The choice between having to cook/heat-up something for dinner or taking 3-seconds to “prepare” the chips and dip in the cupboard after an exceedingly long and tiring day at work is not. Need further illustration? I made this video about my Treat Rule to help you out.

So How Do We Keep Our Healthy Diets Safe From Halloween?

If you’re an adult with no kids, lucky you! This is firmly in your control. If you’re at a halloween party with some candy, go in with a game plan. How much do I want to eat? Are there some treats that will be totally worth it? Can I try to eat them really slowly to make them last?

You have to decide on the right balance, but I strongly recommend not to keep anything at home during the lead up to Oct 31st or in the aftermath. That alone should mitigate the damage significantly. Buy candy on your way home from work on Halloween… hand it out… then ditch the rest.

If you have kids, you’ll have to figure out how strict to be. Most parents I know easily get side tracked by innocuous munching on their children’s snacks. A little here and a little there adds up, and no time is harder to stem this tide than around holidays like Halloween.

If the candy monster has derailed you in the past, I challenge you to think about how you can improve this year by a modest 50%. You don’t have to be perfect, but by exerting control and committing to specific action, you’ll stay healthier and feel more confident when facing the onslaught of holiday binging in all its various forms.


Peter Roberts is a sought after nutrition consultant and strength and conditioning coach in Toronto. He’s been the head coach at Quantum CrossFit since 2010 (East York’s most highly rated gym) and consulted with Canada Basketball and Rugby League Canada, among others. He provides free fitness and nutrition resources on his site peterrobertscoaching.com to teach people how to get fitter and feel great without it being a struggle.