Eat the Candy
I’ll never forget the day I literally broke down in tears after I left an onboarding session with one of my patients. It saddened me greatly to hear how much anxiety he felt around certain foods just because they are not considered “heart healthy.” Food avoidance for my patient became a major problem as he grew ever more fearful of falling victim to temptation. It impacted his life to such an extent that he even missed his own daughter’s wedding day due to the presence of a simple wedding cake at the reception.
According to Beth Cecil, an Owensboro Health Healthpark dietitian, avoiding certain foods, due to the belief that they are “bad” can often lead to “craving, binges, and overeating”. Instead of focusing on food that is forbidden, allow yourself to have small portions of the foods you crave and fill the rest of your day with heart healthy foods. If you are having trouble thinking of heart healthy foods to eat, start with the colors of the rainbow. Pick a fruit or vegetable for each color. Examples of this include: red peppers, oranges, yellow bananas, green lettuce, blue blueberries, purple carrots, beets or acai (indigo).[source]
Always consider moderation when eating candy or unhealthy foods. Let yourself have one or two pieces of candy and if you still find yourself craving sweets, prepare a fruit salad or baked apples to help with your moderation. You can find a variety of heart healthy recipes at recipesmadehealthy.substack.com, which is authored by Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD.
My personal meal plan for Halloween is:
Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs, 2 slices of whole wheat toast, and an orange
Snack: Celery and nut butter
Lunch: Michigan cherry salad (walnuts, cherries, bleu cheese crumbles, apple slices, and a raspberry vinaigrette) with grilled chicken
Dinner: Vegetable stir fry with brown rice
Eating heart healthy is not a diet, it is a mindset and a way of life. Never let a fear of certain foods control your life to the point that it sacrifices your happiness. So on Halloween night, you can find me hovering over my oldest son’s shoulder hoping that the waterfall of candy coming from his pillowcase produces a handful of mini KitKat bars.