5 Simple Halloween tips to avoid getting sucked into a candy calorie pit
- 2 Minutes Read
If you're frightened of an overload of Halloween candy calories, consider these strategies for enjoying a little healthier holiday!
If you struggle with weight or are just trying to make healthier choices, do yourself a favor and don't buy your favorite sweets for trick-or-treaters. You will probably have leftover candy, meaning a pile of tempting foods within easy reach. Why do that to yourself? If you buy candy, choose less appealing ones to reduce the temptation.
You may love the trick-or-treat Halloween tradition, but maybe it is time to stop buying sugary treats. It's not just adults who struggle with weight-children and teens do too. There's nothing wrong with enjoying a few treats, but no one needs a pillowcase full of candy.
Instead of traditional candy, offer popcorn, sugar-free gum, whole-grain granola bars, or small dried fruit packs. Don't worry; no one will boycott your house. Kids and their parents will appreciate the variety.
Treats don't have to be food. One study even found that kids are just as likely to choose a toy as a candy option. Offer stickers, crayons, erasers, bubbles, and other small, inexpensive goodies. Check out the Teal Pumpkin Project for more non-food treat ideas. This initiative started as a way to promote non-food treats for kids with food allergies. The bonus of giving out non-food treats: no tempting candy in the house!
Enjoy your treat with minimal damage if you eat just one mini or fun-size candy bar. But will you? Depending upon the candy bar, a mini has about 30-50 calories, whereas a fun-size bar has about 60-90 calories! You will find most of the minis and fun sizes in MyNetDiary's database.
Candy bars that contain chocolate or nuts are typically higher in calories than hard or chewy confections such as taffy, suckers, and licorice. Unfortunately, none are good for your teeth, and all provide empty calories.
If you buy too much Halloween candy or have your own trick-or-treaters bringing home their loot, consider what you will do with the excess.
A bowl of uneaten candy will call your name. You might resist the first few times you walk by, but eventually, your willpower may fade. Store the candy out of sight-on a high shelf or in the freezer.
The surefire strategy for handling excess candy is to get it out of the house. Many dentist offices collect extra Halloween candy for cash.
While donations may seem admirable, consider if it is beneficial. Does your employee break room become the dumping ground for abandoned sweets? Donating to organizations that serve those struggling with access to healthy foods is not a good solution either. Food banks need nutritious food, not empty calories from candy.
Save leftover chocolates to enjoy in portion-controlled servings throughout the year. Chop chocolate bars into small pieces, place in baggies and freeze for special treats throughout the year. Use these crunchy goodies as toppings for yogurt or add-ins to smoothies. You can add them to cookies or pumpkin or banana bread instead of chocolate chips. Make a custom trail mix by combining with dried fruit, pretzels, and nuts.
Be crafty with your leftover stash! Use hard candies to decorate a gingerbread house or make Christmas tree ornaments.
If you feel that no one will appreciate the extra Halloween candy and freezing isn't an option, throw it out. It's a sunk cost. Think of all the Halloween candy calories you've avoided! And next year, either buy less candy or don't buy any at all.
Reviewed and updated on October 7, 2022 by Sue Heikkinen MS, RDN, CDCES
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