Parents' Halloween Survival Guide

For little goblins and witches, Halloween is one sweet candyfest. But if you’re a parent who’s following the South Beach Diet, the holiday can be a minefield of temptations with the potential to derail the best-intentioned weight loss goals.

Don’t be haunted by thoughts of having a horrible Halloween! By planning ahead, you can stick to your meal plan, have fun trick-or-treating with your costumed cuties, and even enjoy some treats yourself. Be sure to:

Shop smart. Buy candy for trick-or-treaters at the last minute so you don’t have it hanging around for too long. And be sure to choose candy that you don’t particularly like, so you’ll be less tempted to reach for leftovers.

Consider giving out non-candy treats. The little trick-or-treaters who ring your doorbell will be excited to receive Halloween-themed stickers, pencils, pens, erasers, or bubbles, small bags of trans-fat free popcorn, individual boxes of raisins, or granola bars. You may even want to treat the grownups who accompany the kids to a South Beach Diet 100-Calorie Snack Bar.

Never trick-or-treat hungry. Don’t skip a meal or healthy snack on Halloween (you will be more tempted by the kids’ treats later.) If you’re taking the family door to door around the neighborhood, eat a snack that contains fiber and protein before you go so your sugar cravings don’t get the best of you.

Treat yourself. You won’t wind up feeling deprived if there are some festive Halloween-y snacks that you can enjoy on hand in the house. Make a black bean dip and serve it in a hollowed-out orange bell pepper. Accompany this with cut up raw vegetables if you are on Phase 1 or whole grain crackers if you are on Phase 2. If you are on Phase 2, bake a sweet potato, remove the inside, and fill with seasoned black beans. And you might even enjoy dessert: If you’re on Phase 1, prepare sugar-free orange Jell-O, cut it into cubes, and layer it in a parfait dish with fat-free plain Greek yogurt. Or try our Mocha Ricotta Crème, a hauntingly good treat made with part-skim ricotta, unsweetened cocoa powder, and a dash of instant espresso. If you are on Phase 2, make a Halloween parfait (ricotta cheese sweetened with agave nectar and vanilla extract, layered in a dessert dish with cut up orange segments.)

Donate the goodies. You know the expression, out of sight, out of mind? It couldn’t be more appropriate than at Halloween. So the day after, let your children choose a few candies to keep, then take most of their stash to your office to give to co-workers, or donate it to a food bank or seniors’ center.

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