It’s Halloween and the candy aisle is the popular spot. According to The Nielsen Company, Americans spent about $1.9 billion on candy in 2013 – that’s the equivalent of 600 million pounds of candy! We don’t recommend taking the fun out of Halloween by banning beloved sweets, but some choices are better than others. Read more
Doorbells across America are about to start ringing! But for the health-conscious among us, there’s no need to be scared off by all sweets. Before digging into bags of sugary loot, check out this lineup of candies.
• Fuel up: Make sure the whole family (that means you, too, adults) has a healthy meal prior to trick-or-treating. Include lots of veggies, whole grains and lean protein for lasting fullness. The more satisfied you are, the less likely you will be to overindulge on the sweet stuff.
There’s no escaping sugar when it comes to a lollipop–but you can steer clear of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Just in time for Halloween, here’s how to make your own delicious suckers with natural flavorings.
Call me crazy, but I start thinking about Halloween in August. Not the costumes, the candy. I’m a self-professed candy junkie, and it turns out, I’m not alone. The good news is, some candy choices are a little better than others.
For chocolate lovers, the darker the better (and the higher the percentage of cacao, the better). Dark chocolate has less sugar, is often dairy-free, and is rich in antioxidants that may reduce blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Add a few nuts, and you get an extra boost of protein; a few raisins, and you ramp up fiber and antioxidants. Add a little mint, and you have a refreshing treat with little fat. When choosing milk-chocolate varieties, opt for fillings that are light and airy over those that are thick and dense.
Pay attention when you hit those touristy candy shops this summer: Some treats are better than others.
Red Licorice vs. Black Licorice
WINNER: Red licorice. Many people assume that black licorice root can alleviate health issues. This hasn’t been proven, but eating large quantities of black licorice may be dangerous to people 40 and older because a compound in it has been linked to heart problems, according to the FDA.
Boardwalk Fudge vs. Boardwalk Taffy
WINNER: Boardwalk taffy. A 1-inch square of chocolate fudge has more than double the fat of the equivalent amount of taffy (about seven pieces). Plus, fudge is higher in saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol in the bloodstream and lead to heart problems.
Classic Gummies vs. Sour Gummies
WINNER: Classic gummies. The calorie and sugar counts are almost identical, but studies suggest that sour candy erodes tooth enamel more than other types because it’s more acidic. And because gummies stick to your teeth longer than other sweets, sour ones pose a greater risk of dental damage.
It’s not just the ghouls and ghosts causing a scare on Halloween — how about the mountains of treats handed out to kids by friends and neighbors? Some treats are worse than others — these are the ones that I pick out of my kiddos’ candy stash when they’re not looking and toss them into the trash.
Depending on the brand, taffy has about 160 calories and 27 grams of sugar for about 5 pieces. The fact that my kids need to try VERY hard to bite into one tells me they shouldn’t be eating it. Read the ingredient list and you’ll find corn syrup, palm oil, hydrogenated oil and artificial colors. In one bite, your kid can eat at least 4 ingredients that many experts tell you to avoid.
Gum or chewy-candy filled lollipops may be exciting for kids but why on earth do they need a 2-in-1 treat? The only thing they’ll be getting more of is sugar!
We can’t help you fend off goblins, ghosts, witches and werewolves, but we can help you avoid scary stuff like excess sugar, too many processed treats and smile-spoiling candies. Before you hit the streets to trick-or-treat, read up on the sneaky ways you can resist overindulging this year. Plus, some make-at-home sweets that will keep you from raiding the candy aisle, especially once the prices get marked down tomorrow.
Tricks for Enjoying Your Treats
Instead of: King size candy bar
Choose: Mini “fun size” bar
The Payoff: An average savings of 475 calories and more than 20 grams of fat
We don’t expect your Halloween faves to be nutritious, but there are some treats you should be scared of. Whether you’re digging through a candy-filled pillowcase or deciding what to give out to trick-or-treaters, use these tips to keep kiddies safe.