Herbalife is the sports nutrition and presenting partner for the LA Galaxy. Herbalife Dietitians work closely with the LA Galaxy technical staff to make sure we are maximizing their nutrition to support performance goals.
If you are an athlete with a sweet tooth and are concerned about how to fuel around Halloween when candy and other treats are ubiquitous, this article is for you. Read on to find out how to approach fueling during this time of year to help you reach your performance goals.
How to Structure Your Fueling Plan on Halloween
First things first, you’re going to approach your day the same as you will any other day. You should still plan to have all your regular meals because skipping meals for candy is going to be counterproductive to your performance goals.
At every meal (3-4 times per day), we recommend balancing your Performance Plate with carbohydrates, lean protein (25-30 grams), fruits and vegetables, and some healthy fats. Additionally, aim for 2-3 daily snacks composed of a mixture of carbs, protein (15-20 grams), color (fruits & veggies), and some healthy fats. Following this method will not only promote optimal performance, but it will also promote overall wellness as consuming whole foods helps you to acquire adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals through your diet.
While whole foods are heavily recommended, that does not mean that you cannot enjoy candy or other treats that you love. Regularly enjoying some food for the soul can help prevent feelings of restriction which can lead to bingeing, and help you to make better choices throughout the remainder of your meals and snacks each day.
Further, you can even utilize candy as pre-training or intra-training fuel, as candy provides easily digestible carbs for a quick source of energy.
Pre-training or Intra-Training Fuel
We recommend fueling with 30-60 grams of quick-digesting simple carbohydrates prior to training in order to provide the body with fuel and energy to support performance. You can also refuel with some simple carbs during training, which is especially helpful on longer or more intense training days. This can include things like applesauce, a banana, fruit leathers, etc. that are comprised of simple sugars and are low in fat and fiber.
If you’re interested in utilizing candy to fuel prior to training, be sure to read the label and opt for candies that do not contain much fat to avoid any potential for digestive discomfort during training. Choose candies such as jelly beans, gummies, hard or chewy fruit candies, or sugary gum, as these are composed of primarily simple sugars.
Post-training fuel includes your Recovery Shake, which should be comprised of a ratio of 3:1 carbs to protein. This ratio helps maximize recovery and muscle protein synthesis. At Galaxy, we utilize the Herbalife24® Rebuild Strength protein powder after training and matches to promote muscle repair and recovery* amongst the athletes.
This Recovery Shake should not replace any of your meals or snacks, so make sure you continue to fuel appropriately throughout the day.
How to Enjoy Treats
If you would rather enjoy some candy or treats in the evening, perhaps after Trick or Treating with your family on Halloween night, that is also perfectly fine and can be part of a healthy diet.
One tip is to keep your portions of candy small, but enough to feel satisfied. Read the label to ensure you consume a single serving, or stick to fun-size candies to keep it simple.
Another tip is to add, not restrict, when you want to enjoy some candy or a treat as a snack. For example, if you wanted to enjoy a chocolate bar, you could chop it up and add it to a bowl containing Greek yogurt and berries. This way, you are adding protein and other beneficial nutrients to your chocolate treat which can help you to meet your performance goals while gaining some psychological satisfaction.
Further, practicing mindful eating as you enjoy the treat can also be beneficial, as this makes you slow down and focus on fully enjoying the treat and listening to your body to be guided by your hunger and fullness cues.
Overall, this satisfaction factor really helps to prevent the overconsumption of candy and treats, which would be counterproductive to your performance goals and overall wellness.
So yes, you can absolutely enjoy some Halloween treats as an athlete! Treats can have a place in any healthy, balanced diet and, as you learned above, can also be used as fuel during training to help you reach peak performance. Happy Halloween!
- This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1. Kerksick C, Harvey T, Stout J, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: nutrient timing [published correction appears in J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008;5:18]. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008;5:17. Published 2008 Oct 3. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-5-17
2. Herbalife24® Rebuild Strength: Chocolate. Herbalife.com. Accessed October 1, 2023. https://www.herbalife.com/products/herbalife24-rebuild-strength-chocolate/.