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Why this nutritionist wants you to eat candy on Halloween

Claire Zulkey wonders when she'll ever get used to the idea that she has two boys. She is the author of two books for young people, An Off Year and Best Frenemies. She and her filmmaker husband live in Evanston, IL. You can find out more...

Some completely feasible ways you can be a tiny bit healthier this fall

Autumn feels like the season when we’re most programmed to eat. Suddenly, we’re surrounded by football food and apple cider donuts and everything in the Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer. Plus, the threat of the swimsuit is gone, so it feels kind of safe to fluff up a little bit.

Last week, I met with Dawn Jackson Blatner, the nutritionist whose team won My Diet Is Better Than Yours and who in December will be releasing her new book, The Superfood Swap. I fully expected her to tell me that we should eat cashew butter with cocoa nibs instead of Reese’s cups on Oct. 31 (OK, she kind of did), but her advice was way more laid-back than you’d think tips from a nutritionist would be.

More: 22 Halloween candies ranked by calories

SheKnows: OK, so, Halloween is coming. All the candy.

Dawn Jackson Blatner: The first step to trick or treating is: Identify what your favorite candy is — one. When your kids come back, you only save the favorites and don’t eat the rest. Otherwise, when the candy comes back, you’re eventually going to eat Milky Way and who likes Milky Way? Nobody! I just believe in keeping access [to the candy bars] down.

Also, Halloween in your house cannot last more than seven days. You do your pre-work before Halloween, identifying your favorite candy, do the triage, then you do the seven days. Otherwise, if you do it for two, you’ll be freaking out that it’s only two days. I’m a big believer in the restriction-binge cycle.

More: Your state's favorite Halloween candy: Love it or hate it?

SK: Nice, so we totally get to eat candy?

DJB: I really do say lean in, but do it in a version that is no C.R.AP. (chemicals, refined sugar and flour, artificial sweeteners and colors and preservatives). One of my clients told me, “I just love apple cider,” and I was like, put that down, you cannot have apple cider. But Celestial Seasonings has apple tea, and it’s literally delicious. She went from being, like, “It’s not the same!” to “It’s so delicious. I have it iced and hot!”

SK: So, what’s the truth about chili? I probably eat too much of it because I tell myself “It’s got protein! It’s low carb!”

DJB: Oh, I do like chili. The one thing I would say about chili is that it doesn’t count as any vegetable, no matter how many green peppers or tomatoes you put in it. You have to put some vegetables on it on the side.

You can pre-order Dawn’s book The Superfood Swap now!.

More: 31 soups, stews, chilies and chowders

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