By: Samantha Lewandowski, RD
It’s that time of year when candy just won’t quit. As an RD, I’m torn. On the one hand, I feel a sense of obligation to help impart healthy habits and hand out something like raisins, or even a non-food treat to the costume wearing neighbor kids. But on the other hand, I enjoy candy, and my philosophy is all about balance. Therefore, I see the value and fun in enjoying some gooey, chocolatey goodness for the sake of celebration.
Here at Every Food Fits, we believe in moderation. We love food, but we’re also interested in health and wellness. Being well can certainly include indulging in the foods you most enjoy, which may or may not include Halloween candy. Amounts and portions are key, particularly with small items like candy that can slip mindlessly past our lips.
For starters, consider the candy or treat you most enjoy. Is it chocolate, gummy, sweet or sour? Use your calories wisely. Next, decide on a portion size and when in your day the treat best fits. The fun size and snack sizes work well, but beware the label: serving sizes differ from brand to brand. For example, 1 Twix fun size candy bar is 80 calories with 4 grams of fat, while 2 Snickers fun size are 160 calories and 8 grams of fat. With more than a quick glance at the label, and some simple math, we find these two candies are comparable. Don’t be caught off-guard by these simple labeling tricks. The serving size is always the first place to look on a food label.
Including candy as dessert at a meal time is the best option for most because it is less likely to lead to a spike in blood sugar, and more likely to be satisfying. Eating sweets like candy outside of a meal, especially when hungry, may result in overeating. Candy alone is not very satisfying because it’s high in sugar, but low in protein, fiber and other nutrients. Beware of the mindless munching while you’re waiting for trick-or-treaters to arrive.
What happens with all the leftover candy? Are you someone who is proud to say you have candy from the year before? For the candy savers among us – just how long can you keep those 3 Musketeers anyway? If you’re interested in turning the candy into other treats – to be consumed moderately, of course – Real simple offers some fun tips. And if you want it off your hands for good, consider the Halloween candy buy back program. Your dentist will thank you.
What treats do you most enjoy at Halloween? How do you enjoy them in moderation? We look forward to hearing from you! Happy Halloween!