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How to manage Halloween candy cravings

Like many events of 2020, Halloween is going to be different this year. With the CDC recommending folks do not take their children door-to-door for trick-or-treating or attend indoor Halloween parties this year, families may be finding themselves with a smaller candy stash than usual. This may present families with the opportunity to be creative this year in finding other ways to celebrate, such as trying out some DIY Halloween crafts, transforming your home into a haunted house, or baking homemade Halloween-themed treats.

Regardless of how you chose to celebrate Halloween this year, it's normal for candy or other yummy treats to be a part of the experience. Just as pumpkin pie is associated with Thanksgiving, and jellybeans go along with Easter, certain foods are attached to celebrations and become part of the fun. While some people look forward eagerly to those special foods each year, others may become anxious at the thought of extra food being around, especially food that isn't generally around the other 364 days of the year. But food shouldn't cause anxiety and stress.

Understanding why we crave certain foods

The human psyche and food works like this: if you forbid or restrict certain foods that you actually like, you will think more about those foods, want those foods more, and most likely end up eating those foods past the point of satisfaction. Then you will likely feel guilty about eating those foods and vow not to do it again, thus restricting and forbidding those foods. See the cycle? This is true with adults as well as children.

You may be wondering, "So how do I break the cycle?". The answer is not keeping those foods away from you and out of the house. That's just perpetuating the cycle with more restrictions. The answer lies in working on giving yourself permission to eat those foods, making them legal, and normalizing food in holidays and celebrations.

If you have candy in the house this Halloween or decide to bake or make fun Halloween treats this year, enjoy them. Allow yourself and your children to taste and enjoy as much candy or treats as desired on Halloween. If you eat quite a bit, do not stress; your body is wise, and it will be okay. If there are leftovers, have a few pieces with meals or snacks until it is gone or until it no longer is appealing.

If you choose to celebrate Halloween without special foods this year, that's okay too! The point is food is meant to be a pleasurable part of the celebration, not an added stressor. Happy Halloween!

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