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Halloween candy

Beware the Post-Halloween Sugar Rush at Work

Whether your city celebrates Halloween on Oct. 31 as planned or has postponed Trick-or-Treat night because of Hurricane Sandy, the risk remains clear: Workplaces around the nation are about to face the temptation of post-Halloween candy.

When November hits, so does all leftover Halloween candy. Well-meaning employees who want to share their excess sugary wealth, and who also may wish to keep the temptation out of their own homes, will bring their plastic pumpkins overflowing with candy for their coworkers to enjoy.

Unfortunately, according to registered dietitian Gina Neill of Loyola University Health System, dipping into the Halloween candy dish can expand workers’ waistlines and even decrease their productivity. A sugar high can lead to a few minutes of initial alertness and provide a short burst of energy, but when the sugar wears off, you'll feel tired, fatigued and hungry.

Neill offers these tips for coping with the coming abundance of office candy:

  • Make a pact with your fellow employees to not bring in leftover candy.
  • Be sure to eat breakfast in the days after Halloween so you don't come to work hungry.
  • Bring in alternative healthy snacks, such as fruit, carrot sticks, low-fat yogurt or cucumber slices. "Vegetables are a great healthy snack. You can’t overdose on vegetables," Neill said.
  • Be festive without being unhealthy. Blackberries and cantaloupe are a fun way to celebrate with traditional orange and black fare without packing on the holiday pounds. Bring this to the office instead of candy as a creative and candy-free way to participate in the holiday fun.
  • If you must bring in candy, put it in an out-of-the-way location. "Don't put it in people's faces so they mindlessly eat it," Neill said. She cited a study conducted by James Painter of Eastern Illinois University that found that office workers ate an average of nine Hershey's Kisses per week when the candy was conveniently placed on top of the desk, but only six Kisses when placed in a desk drawer and three Kisses when placed 2 feet from the desk.
  • If you have to have a treat, try to limit yourself to a small, bite-size piece. Moderation is key.

So think twice before you bring in pounds of leftover Halloween chocolate, or before you dip into the candle bowl at work. Your productivity and your health may depend on it.

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