By Barb Rock

Dear Barb,

Halloween is the most difficult time because it is the beginning of eating more. First there is Thanksgiving followed by Christmas chocolate goodies to finish off the year. If I eat in the morning, I actually feel hungry sooner. Do you have suggestions to help me in this battle?

Signed, Battling the Holiday Bulge

Dear Battling,

Most days of the year we’re all about the quinoa and kale. But there are those special times, like Halloween, when it’s fine to enjoy a sugary treat (or two). That’s because when you eat right most days, an occasional splurge is no biggie. That’s not to say you should scarf down handfuls of the kiddies’ stash or the office leftovers. Just keep in mind your calorie intake, and limit your portions.

Repeatedly behaving in moderation allows us to practice self-control around the stimulus and also encourages mindfulness. Many people have realized that mindfulness (being fully aware of what you’re eating while you’re eating it) is the secret to managing food cravings. So, indulge a limited amount and stick to that amount. (Put on a tight pair of pants when you are going to be snacking, not baggy sweat pants).

It is very interesting how sugar can actually increase your appetite. Oregon Health & Science University said the findings “support the conceptual framework that when the human brain is exposed to fructose, neurobiological pathways involved in appetite regulation are modulated, thereby promoting increased food intake.” This seems simple: The more sugar you eat, the more food you want to consume. Try limiting your sugar intake a bit and see if that makes any difference. Don’t be surprised if you tend to feel a little more lethargic and have less energy. This is your body adjusting.

At Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, try to portion yourself with a half a plate of veggies, steamed or raw, a quarter with protein (meat) and the last quarter a carbohydrate such as a roll, potato, pasta or rice. You can always have as much lettuce salad as you would like. Be cautious of the fruit, macaroni and bean salads as they are usually high in fat or sugar. I would encourage you to start reading the labels on anything you are eating and check the sugar amount in each item. Halloween candy can easily be the catalyst to the cravings you experience. What this means is that it’s not just the number of calories we consume, but the form that they come in that dictates the impact they have on weight. There is evidence, for instance, that for a given calorie intake, those that eat the most fat (and least carbohydrate) are the ones who lose the most weight. It also means controlling intake of many starchy carbohydrates such as bread and breakfast cereals. It’s perhaps the high sugar nature of these foods that explains why individuals often say that if they eat these foods for breakfast, they get hungrier in the morning as compared to eating nothing. You deserve a good quality breakfast, so take the time to prepare some yogurt with nuts and berries, an egg cooked any style or oatmeal. Remember, a protein will always stay with you longer.

It’s good that you recognize your tendencies during this time, which is the first step, acting differently is the most important step. Here are the top 10 Halloween candies ranked in terms of sugar:

Rolo Caramels in Milk Chocolate: 1 Rolo (6g): 27 calories, 0.9 g sat fat, 3.7 grams sugar (over half is sugar 61.67 percent)

Hershey’s Nuggets Dark Chocolate with Almond: 1 nugget (9.5g): 45 calories, 1.5g sat fat, 4g sugar

Wonka Mini Laffy Taffy: 1 mini taffy (8.6g): 30 calories, 0.3g sat fat, 4.2g sugar

Hershey’s Assorted Miniatures: 1 miniature (8.6g): 42 calories, 1.4 g sat fat, 4.4g sugar

Starburst Fun Size: 2 Starburst candies: 40 calories, 0.8g sat fat, 6g sugar

Smarties: 1 roll (7g): 25 calories, 0g fat, 6g sugar

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Fun Size: 1 bar (0.49 oz): 77 calories, 2.7g sat fat, 7g sugar

Mounds Snack Size Bar: 1 bar (17g): 80 calories, 3.5g sat fat, 7g sugar (41.17 percent sugar)

Kit Kat Wafer Bar, Snack Size: 1 bar (0.49 oz/14g): 70 calories, 2.3g sat fat, 7g sugar

Reese’s Pieces Snack Size: 1 bag (13g): 67 calories, 2.7g sat fat, 7.3g sugar

House of Matthew Homeward Bound program in Tacoma, and the published author of “Run Your Own Race: Happiness after 50.” Send any questions related to mental health, relationships or life issues to her at

Subscribe to our newsletter

To stay updated with all the latest news, and offers.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.