Don’t be scared by Halloween treats!

The holiday season seems to get longer every year, with sweets, shopping, and stress threatening to derail your healthy lifestyle habits from Halloween to Valentine’s Day!

Hopefully you’re already following these tips to minimize temptations at home, but how do you deal with treats that show up at the office?

Follow these tips to help stay on track when Halloween candy begins making its spooky appearance this month.

1. Make a plan: If you don’t already, begin planning your meals and snacks for the week. Life gets extra busy during the holidays, so make good use of slow cookers, leftovers, and low-fat frozen entrées to help stop you from eating out or skipping meals. Have a long day coming up at work? That’s a perfect time to toss ingredients in the slow cooker before you leave in the morning!

2. Bring supplies: Now that you have a plan, make sure you’re bringing lunch and snacks to work each day. When the cupcakes call your name, it will be much easier to resist the temptation if you have healthy foods on hand. Stock up on protein- and fiber-filled snacks to help stop the sugar cravings, such as:

  • String cheese and fruit
  • Hummus and veggies
  • Trail mix or nuts (pre-portioned into ¼ cup servings)
  • Edamame
  • Low-fat Greek yogurt
  • Apple slices or celery sticks with 2 tablespoons peanut butter

3. Pay attention: Start tracking everything that goes in your mouth with a food log app such as MyFitnessPal. No smart phone? Pen and paper work just as well! It’s much easier to stay on track if you see the evidence of the candy!

4. Drink up! Stay hydrated with 64 ounces of calorie-free, caffeine-free fluids every day. Your body may mistake thirst for hunger, leading to unnecessary snacking.

The Halloween Candy Buy Back program is going on again this year and is a great way to get leftover candy out of your house or office. Enter your zip code on their website to find a participating dentist office to “buy” your leftover Halloween candy—your waistline (and teeth!) will thank you.

Another cool campaign happening this year is the Food Allergy Research & Education’s (FARE) Teal Pumpkin Project, which aims to help make Halloween more inclusive for kids with food allergies. To participate, simply have non-food treats available for trick-or-treaters, such as spider rings, bubbles, or glow sticks. Paint a pumpkin teal or print and post a sign from FARE to indicate you are participating (teal is the color of food allergy awareness).

Happy Halloween!


Tracy Severson is an outpatient clinical dietitian at OHSU. She moved to Portland from Tucson in 2010, and has worked at OHSU since 2011. Tracy works with the OHSU Surgical Weight Reduction clinic and Cardiac Rehab program, and also provides medical nutrition therapy for General Adult Outpatient Clinics at OHSU.