Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tricky Treats - calorie free goodies that won't get you egged!

This is the time of year many people throw their hands in the air and their resolve to be healthy out the window.  DON'T DO IT!!  Take a deep breath and keep reading.  We are all going to make it through together one holiday at a time.  There can be a lot of emotional triggers tied to these next few months both joy filled and stressful.  My hope is for readers to find some ideas here to help make the coming season one that is filled with good memories commemorated by photos, not flab.

If you have kids, or if you are a kid at heart, I'm sure you are well aware that Halloween is nearly here.  In addition to the dressing up and doing the Monster Mash there is going to be candy everywhere you turn.  I want to share my family's plan to avoid as much candy as possible.  We are not going to buy any.  We will be handing out treats to all the little ghosts and goblins that knock on our door, they just won't be edible.  We have done some variation of this for the last three years and our trick-or-treaters have been both surprised and delighted to choose from spider rings, temporary tattoos, jack-o-lantern pins, novelty rubber ducks and mini play doughs.  I have enjoyed offering something fun, and the leftovers just get stashed in a cupboard for the next year.

We have given out some candy but it was either something novelty shaped that we found completely unappealing or a lower fat treat like mini Swedish Fish.  The fish are something I enjoy but can trust myself to just have a few at a time.  I don't trust myself not to plow through several bags of mini chocolate bars in the weeks before and after Halloween so I don't even look at them in the store.  If I want chocolate I'll pick up a small individually wrapped item but not a 2 pound bag.

Many stores that sell Halloween candy also sell novelty items that you can surprise your trick-or-treaters with.  I bought baggies of cute little ghost and bat shaped erasers at Target a few weeks ago for $1 each.  For more selection there are fun on-line catalog stores that will allow you to shop at your leisure and deliver right to your door.  My favorite is Oriental Trading.  They have an amazing selection of grab bag items at reasonable prices and, per the website, orders placed by Oct. 21st with standard shipping will arrive by Halloween.  If you are really attached to handing out candy I recommend checking out their edible novelties.  There is an abundance of treats that only someone under the age of 14 would ever consider putting in their mouth.

Another on-line company to check out is Accoutrements.  Known locally as Archie McPhee this is the ultimate retailer for all things whacky and wonderful.  The items here tend to be a bit more large scale than Oriental Trading but take a look around, even on-line it is fun to just browse.  If you can't find some really unique alternatives to candy for your treat bowl here, you just plain aren't looking.

Now to address the plan to bring leftover candy into work the next day.  Please reconsider, they probably don't need the leftover calories either.  Do bring in the leftover novelty items.  I imagine most office mates would enjoy decorating their space with rubber eye balls or typing memos wearing spider rings far more than sneaking into the break room when they think the coast is clear to guiltily scarf down a handful of fun size chocolate bars.

I for one am looking forward to the challenge of the holidays.  With a little creativity and thinking outside the box these next few months could be the most fun and healthful yet!

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