Are you suffering from a Halloween Hangover? Get back to feeling your best with these tips to detox from a candy binge!
What is a Halloween Hangover?
While not an official medical condition, a hangover post-Halloween is common in both adults and kids.
Urban Dictionary defines a Halloween Hangover as “The Worst sugar crash you’ve ever experienced; usually happens the morning after Halloween”.
Between the parties, Trunk or Treats, parades, and Trick or Treating, it’s no surprise that a lot of us are crashing hard from sugar!
Sugar Crash Symptoms
- Sugar Cravings
Your Body on Sugar
When you eat sugar, your body reacts by producing more Insulin. The hormone Insulin is responsible for moving the sugar in your blood to your cells where it can be used for energy.
Once Insulin does its’ job, your blood sugar drops, leaving you feeling drained. The symptoms of a sugar crash can increase your cravings for a quick fix. It’s a vicious cycle!
Sugar and Aging
A diet high in sugar can age you faster. Highly processed foods, like Halloween candy, contribute to Chronic Inflammation. Diseases including Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Dementia have been linked to Chronic Inflammation.
Learn more about diet and Inflammation in a previous blog post, Anti-Inflammatory Salads Support Healthy Aging.
High blood sugar levels produce Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs). These are compounds formed in the body when fat and protein combine with sugar. When they accumulate in high levels, they increase the risk of many diseases.
How to Detox from a Candy Binge
We’ve all been there! You set out to eat healthy, but then find yourself overindulging.
We’re all human, and we make mistakes, which includes mistakes with eating.
The good news is you can bounce back from your worst candy binge! Read on for five tips to get back on track after Halloween.
1. Step Away from the Candy
Despite swearing off Fun Size candy bars last night, you may find yourself raiding the Halloween stash again today.
As mentioned above, an increase in Insulin may leave your blood sugar low, leaving you seeking out another fix. Don’t fall into this endless trap!
Set yourself up for success with the suggestions below:
- Put your leftovers away and out of sight (out of sight, out of mind!)
- Get rid of the tempting treats; check out this Today Show article on Ways to Donate Unwanted Halloween Candy.
- Seek out Support – let a family member or friend know you want to stop indulging.
- Create a “Road Block”; hang a small sign in your pantry reading “Stop, Think, Do you really Need Candy?”
2. Drink More Water to ease your Halloween Hangover
Being slightly dehydrated can make the symptoms of a post-Halloween crash worse.
Increasing your water intake can improve your concentration, energy level, and can minimize hunger.
In addition, your kidneys flush out sugar through your urine when you are consistently hydrating.
The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is: About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men. About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.
Another way to monitor hydration is to look at the color of your urine or pee. You are optimally hydrated if your pee is the color of a light colored lemonade or light beer.
3. Eat Low Carb
That candy binge filled up your body’s Carbohydrate stores! In order to start using this stored energy, you’ll want to eat minimal Carbohydrates over the next 2-3 days.
Focus on foods that are high in Protein and Healthy Fats like lean meats, low fat cheese, nuts, and vegetables.
Below are some examples of meals and snacks that are low in Carbohydrates.
- Scrambled eggs & turkey sausage
- Protein shake or bar (check Carbohydrate content on the food label – look for 15 grams or less)
- Veggie Omelet & fresh fruit
Lunch & Dinner
- Entree salad; topped with veggies, eggs, low fat cheese, and/or lean meats
- Grilled chicken & veggies
- Vegetable soup & side salad
- Turkey roll ups; turkey & cheese wrapped in lettuce
- Tuna or chicken salad stuffed tomatoes
- Celery & Peanut Butter
- Mixed Nuts
- Hummus & Veggies
- Cottage Cheese & Berries
4. Move to Ease your Halloween Hangover
Move your way past your Halloween Hangover! Activity will help your body tap into those stored Carbohydrates and use them for energy.
A workout can also help with the bloating, nausea, and constipation that often accompany overeating.
An additional benefit is the release of endorphins, our feel good hormones!
5. Focus on Sleep
A lack of sleep is hard on your body! When you are tired and stressed, it is more difficult to make healthy food choices.
Hunger and stress are very much related. Without adequate rest, your sugar cravings will be more intense and difficult to manage.
A Halloween Hangover is easier to tackle with a good night’s rest!
A Halloween Hangover is described as one of the worst sugar crashes you’ll experience.
A few symptoms include fatigue, irritability, and headaches. A sugar crash can also keep you craving sweet treats due to an increase in Insulin.
The first step in recovering from your candy binge is to stop indulging. Set yourself up for success by minimizing temptation by getting rid of the candy or making it less accessible.
Stay hydrated, choose lower Carbohydrate foods, exercise, and sleep to beat the Halloween Hangover!
Kathryn is a Registered Dietitian and a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She is also Certified through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Weight Management.