Health and Nutrition Guru Meredith Lindsey Talks Halloween Treats

Happy Halloween, Warriors! Meredith Lindsey, the mental and physical wellness guru behind @meredithgracefit, is on the blog to talk about mental health and indulging in seasonal treats on this sugary holiday. Check out what she has to see below!

As the temperatures outside drop and the leaves begin to change, fall has once again graced our doorsteps. With the return of fall there comes many yearly traditions. Football games, cozy sweatshirts, and, of course, Halloween. The kids dress up as ghouls and ghosts that are searching for treats instead of tricks. For some of us, though, the treats appear to be tricks. For those with disordered eating habits or an eating disorder, Halloween can feel like a maze to get through. Instagram posts detailing how long it takes to burn off a snickers bar, fun-sized no less, leaves most people feeling guilty about what fun treats they choose to eat on the spookiest of holidays.

The good news is this: eating candy on Halloween, or any day of the year, won’t change who you are as a person. Eating lots of candy or a little candy doesn’t make you a good or bad person. It certainly won’t make you look any different, either. There is no need to “work off” any calories you consume from candy because those calories are being used to help you walk your brother or sister house to house to trick-or-treat, catch-up with friends, or dance the night away at a Halloween party. In 10 years you won’t remember the candy you ate, but rather the fun times you had. If you challenge your eating disorder and choose to eat candy you’ll realize how good a couple of Reese’s or Kit Kats taste. You’ll also realize that candy isn’t something to fear or avoid completely, instead, it is something to compliment a nutrient rich diet.

If you are still having a hard time letting go of certain food rules and disordered thoughts, let me introduce some studies that may make you ease up about having a treat or two this holiday season. When we restrict food, there is a desire to crave it even more. As this craving builds up over time it gets more and more difficult to adhere to saying no to certain foods. Instead of achieving the result we want from restriction, we actually tend to focus on the food even more until we end up over eating or possibly bingeing on it. Then, we feel terrible and restrict even more in the future.

However, this only leads to a vicious cycle of restriction and bingeing that takes professional help to cure. “Restricting access to palatable foods, whether self-imposed or by parental control, is a practice with potentially negative consequences, including heightened desire for restricted foods and a tendency for subsequent overeating when restrictions are removed” (Duyff, Et. Al). Eating candy on Halloween will not make you unhealthy.

However, the stress and turmoil you feel from restricting may have negative health outcomes. The only time you should feel bad about eating candy on Halloween this year is if you stole it from a kid. Have fun, be safe, and eat the candy!

Meredith Lindsey
University of Cincinnati
College of Allied Health Dietetics 2022

Duyff, Roberta L et al. “Candy consumption patterns, effects on health, and behavioral strategies to promote moderation: summary report of a roundtable discussion.” Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.) vol. 6,1 139S-46S. 15 Jan. 2015, doi:10.3945/an.114.007302