Healthy Holidays: On Being Okay With Throwing Out the Candy

I hate wasting food and I have a mean sweet tooth, so the annual flood of Halloween candy used to mean several weeks of munching on chocolate and fruit chews, until I had either eaten or given it all away. But recently I've started tossing out most of the junk food that comes my way — and I couldn't feel better about it.I don't have kids, so the candy that comes into my house is usually given by well-meaning friends or relatives who don't realize a giant bag of mini candy bars has all kinds of complicated feelings attached to it. They're so good! So full of nostalgic Halloween memories! One or two isn't so bad at the end of the day, until it's been a week and I realize I've eaten 14 mini candy bars instead of my usual zero.

For me, good eating habits are all about the habit, the pattern I click into on a daily basis. Having lots of candy around means cheap candy becomes my after-dinner habit, instead of fresh fruit, or a few dates and nuts. The easiest way to break this habit? Get rid of the candy. That means setting aside a few pieces of candy for myself and my husband, pawning off a little more on friends, and throwing the rest in the trash. I hate wasting food, but I don't feel a shred of guilt about throwing away what, quite honestly, barely qualifies as food. (A peek at the ingredient list usually brushes away any lingering doubts.)

For a fascinating explanation of the science of habit, and how to kick bad eating habits, check out this post from Charles Duhigg, author of the book The Power of Habit:

Kicking the Dessert Habit at Dinner: A Love Story

How do you deal with the excess of candy at this time of year?

Related: What's the Best Way to Lose Weight Without Doing a Crazy Diet?

(Image: Flickr member mateoutah licensed under Creative Commons)

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