As a bariatric patient, you may be wondering how you’ll be able to survive Halloween with so much candy surrounding you the week of October 31st. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the side effects of eating halloween candy and the temptation that comes with these treats, how to approach eating halloween candy as a bariatric patient, and alternative ways of staying healthy this trick-or-treat season.
The Temptation Of Halloween Candy
It can feel impossible surviving halloween without sneaking in at least 1 tiny piece of candy throughout the entire preparation for the holiday, through trick-or-treating, handing out candy, and your kids’ stash hiding in their closets. However, as a bariatric patient, consuming candy may give you unwanted side effects after doing so.
The main side effect being dumping syndrome- especially for those with malabsorption such as gastric bypass, switch, and SADI procedures. Symptoms of dumping syndrome can include diarrhea, nausea, low blood pressure, bloating, cold sweats, fast heart rate, vomiting, and dizziness.
Symptoms usually occur within 10-30 minutes after eating and resolve within 1-2 hours. However, “late” dumping syndrome can occur 1-4 hours after eating something high in simple sugar or refined carbohydrates (ie: candy).
Eating Halloween Candy As A Bariatric Patient
Here are a few tips to help you enjoy a piece or two of candy on Halloween:
- Ensure you are eating a protein rich snack before enjoying candy, such as a piece of deli meat rolled up in a cheese stick or greek yogurt/ cottage cheese. This will blunt the sugar spike effects that candy will have on your blood levels.
- Go for a mini sized candy over the larger bars. If there’s a container of 3 Reese’s PB Cups, choose the pre-packaged Reese’s PB Cup that only contains 1 instead.
- Within mini-sized candy – such as M&Ms – take your time enjoying it. Rather than pouring the entire small bag of M&Ms into your mouth, take 1 out at a time and savor the taste.
- Choose a candy that also contains nuts to increase your intake of fat / protein instead of candy that is all sugar.
- Precut a candy bar into smaller pieces and store them in the freezer within ziploc snack bags. This way, you can have a bite at a time as it thaws in your mouth, allowing you to slow down and to savor the taste instead.
- Place your candy on a small plate or napkin and sit down to eat it. Enjoy it distraction free.
Alternative Ways To Stay Healthy During Halloween
If you are reading through some of these tips, but have concerns that even having just 1 piece of Halloween candy will put you at risk for spiraling into an all-out binge, consider some of these alternative ways of staying healthy during Halloween:
- Buy candy at the store that’s your least favorite
- Create Halloween baggies with zip ties and kid toys that don’t contain candy
- Donate any leftover halloween candy to neighbors, friends, or colleagues at work
- Buy just enough candy that will limit the amount of leftovers you’ll have left at home
- Set up a bowl of candy at your house and go trick-or-treating instead. It will likely be emptied out by the time you get home!
Halloween is a tough holiday to navigate as a weight loss surgery patient due to all of the high-sugar and high-fat temptations in your direct vicinity before and after trick-or-treating. Despite it feeling impossible to survive Halloween as a bariatric patient, there are stills ways of enjoying a treat here and there safely without feeling deprived. However, if candy is a big food trigger for you, it may be worth experimenting with alternative ways that don’t involve candy this Halloween season to see if they work for you.
Keep Your Blood Sugar Controlled This Halloween Season
As a Bariatric patient, it is so important to prioritize protein first at every eating opportunity. Especially if you’ll be having a piece of candy here or there throughout the Halloween holiday. If you’re struggling to hit your protein goals or are curious of more nutrient dense whole food protein options, consider downloading our FREE High Protein Resource to help you out!
Our FREE Protein Resource will help you:
- Identify high protein sources from nutrient dense foods
- Understand the exact protein amounts per serving from every food group
- Create easy “grab-and-go” high protein snacks
- Make grocery shopping seamless, with a printable shopping list