Have a Healthy Halloween!
Halloween cupcakes with candy corn and pumpkin decoration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Halloween is a fun holiday for both kids and adult – who doesn’t love to dress up and go trick-or-treating?! But for most of America, this holiday has become all about candy. Statistics have shown that Americans purchase about 600 million pounds of candy for Halloween and the average American eats 24 pounds of candy a year, most of which is consumed around Halloween. Although it may be fun to collect a lot of candy on this holiday, remember you can have too much of a good thing – that’s why moderation is more important than ever when it comes to Halloween (and all holidays for that matter). Before your kids fill their pumpkins with as much candy as they can and before you eat all those fun size candy bars lying around the office, keep these tips in mind.
Be picky: Don’t just eat every candy bar or sugary treat in sight. Select one of your favorite treats per day and savor it.
Balance your meals during the day: If the majority of what you eat is balanced among fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fat, you will be left with room to have a small indulgence. Make sure your kids eat a balanced dinner before trick-or-treating.
Read labels: Knowledge is power; so make sure you know what you’re eating by reading the nutrition facts on candy packages. If individual candy bars don’t have the nutrition facts, look them up online.
Offer some healthier options: Nothing says you have to hand out candy on Halloween. Change things up a bit by giving healthy Halloween treats like individual packs of dried fruit, lollipops, granola bars, graham crackers, single-serve bags of chips or pretzels, or one ounce dark chocolate squares. You can also go with non-food treats, like stickers, rubber spiders, and cool erasers.
The USDA recommends no more than about 10 percent of your total daily calories come from added sugar and solid fats and the American Heart Association says added sugar should not account for more than 100 calories a day for most women (that’s 25 grams, or 6 teaspoons) and 150 calories a day for most men (that’s about 38 grams, or 9 teaspoons). That means 2-3 fun size candy bars or a couple of handfuls of candy corn.
Remember, a little goes a long way. Make that bag of treats last more than a few days – you’ll be happy you did! !
Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian, member of the CRA RD Panel, and founder of Nutritioulicious™, a private practice in Manhattan. She has extensive experience as a nutrition writer, editor, and speaker, and has been featured as a nutrition expert on NBC, Fox 5, and NY1, and in national magazines, including Glamour, Fitness, and Woman’s Day. Jessica is a member of the American Dietetic Association and Greater NY Dietetic Association, and she consults for several food and beverage companies.
Members of the RD Panel are paid consultants to the Corn Refiners Association (CRA), but their statements and opinions are their own. RD Panel members provide general dietary information, but you should consult your own physician or dietitian for advice concerning your particular circumstance