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Even the most will-powered have a hard time staying away from yummy treats during the holidays. As each holiday approaches I will post an article on tips of how to stay on track during these tempting times. The holiday season is fast approaching, and though you may not want to admit it, it starts with Halloween.

Halloween is the time of year where all the hard work and willpower it took to avoid the urge to buy treats at the grocery store goes out the window as your kids arrive with pillowcases full of candy. Even if you don’t go trick-or-treating, it’s hard to avoid candy this time of year. Co-workers feel the need to put a bowl of the stuff on their desks. Parents wind up eating half the candy bars their kids bring home. During the week (beginning Halloween night) most American’s will eat five percent of the candy that they will eat all year.

 

Tips on How to Survive the Evil Candy Monster

1. Know when to stop! You CAN enthusiastically indulge in what will truly satisfy your craving for candy, but in moderation. Set a limit: Either enjoy some candy on Halloween and the day after, and stop there, or budget 100 calories a day for a week.

2. If you feel like it would be hard to avoid wanting to nibble on something sweet all day, chews and pops are the way to go because they last longer then other candies.

3. Make sure to accommodate the extra calories you’re consuming by cutting back elsewhere in your diet and/or by doing extra cardio. Try Jumping Rope.

4. When your kids return from trick-or-treating, have them divide the candy into what they like and what they don’t. Buy the latter items from them for a nickel a treat, or give them some kind of prize in exchange for the candy. Take the less-desired candies and give them away to a charity or food program.

5. To help out the entire family, put a limit on how many treats can be consumed per day, and freeze or lock up the stash to help enforce it.

6. Give your child a smaller trick-or-treat bag so they aren’t coming home with an absurd amount of candy.

7. Make sure to serve your kids a healthy, hearty meal so they’ll be too full to eat the candy they come home with.

 

Candy Breakdown

Sure, they’re called ‘Fun Size” but these little buggers can be tricky because they don’t usually have nutritional information listed on them. Here is the calorie and carbohydrate information in common Halloween candy treats:

  • Hershey Kisses – 26 calories and 8 g carb each kiss
  • Hershey Kisses with Almonds – 23 calories and 2 g carb each kiss
  • Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars – Fun size (14 g) – 67 calories and 8 g carb
  • Hershey’s Miniature Bars (mixed) – average of 42 calories and 5 g carb each bar
  • M&Ms, plain, Fun size (18 g) – 88 calories and 12 g carb
  • M&Ms, peanut, Fun size (18 g) – 93 calories and 11 g carb
  • Mr. Goodbar Snack size (17 g) – 90 calories and 9 grams carb
  • Nestle’s Crunch Bars Fun size (10 g) – 50 calories and 7 grams carb
  • Tootsie Rolls, Small bar – 50 calories and 10 g carb
  • Pay Day – Snack size (19 g) – 90 calories and 10 g carb
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – Miniature (about 9 grams each) – 44 calories and 5 g carb per cup
  • Almond Joy Snack size (15 g) – 80 calories and 10g carb
  • Baby Ruth Bar, Fun size (18 g each) – 85 calories and 13 g carb
  • Butterfinger Bar, Fun size (18 g each) – 85 calories 14 g carb
  • Kit Kat, Fun size (14 g) – 70 calories and 9 g carb
  • Milky Way bar, Fun size (17 g) – 75 calories and 12 g carb
  • Mounds bars, Snack size (17 g) – 83 calories and 9 g carb
  • Snickers Bars, Fun size (17 g) – 80 calories and 10 g carb
  • Twix, Snack size (10 g) – 50 calories and 7 g carb
  • Milk Duds Snack size (12 g) – 54 calories and 9 g carb
  • Lifesavers Gummies (2 rolls per ounce) – 52 calories and 13 g carb per roll
  • Mini Dots (2 small boxes per ounce) 70 calories and 17 g carb per box
  • Skittles Original Fruit, Fun size (20 g) – 80 calories and 18 g carb
  • Starburst, Fun size (2 pieces per stick) – 40 calories and 10 g carb
  • Twizzlers, Mini-bars (14 g) – 133 calories and 11 g carb
  • Blow Pop, Junior – 50 calories and 14 g carb
  • Jolly Rancher Hard Candy (6 g) – 23 calories and 6 g carb
  • Lollipops (17 g) – 60 calories and 16 g carb
  • Tootsie Pops – 60 calories and 15 g carb
  • Wonka Nerds – small box (13 g) – 50 calories and 12 g carb
  • Candy Corn, Brach’s – 11 pieces – 70 calories and 18 g carb
  • Hot Tamales – small pkg (14 g) – 50 calories and 12 g carb
  • Jr. Mints, Fun size (10 g) – 50 calories and 12 g carb
  • Raisinettes, Fun size (16 g – about 16 pieces) – 56 calories and 11 g carb

Some candies are worth the sacrifice more than others. If you’re going to eat the naughty stuff, you may as well choose the healthier one.

You can eat one snack size Kit Kat bar for 70 calories, 30 of them from fat. Or you could choose a Reese’s peanut-butter cup for 110 calories, 50 of them from fat. Though the Reese’s cup is higher in calories and fat its first ingredient is milk chocolate and its second is peanuts (before sugar, dextrose, salt and preservatives). Kit Kat’s ingredient list starts with sugar.. You don’t get to the chocolate, until the fifth ingredient!

The first ingredient in a Baby Ruth bar is sugar, then roasted peanuts, then corn syrup. The bars also contain hydrogenated palm kernel and coconut oil; these count as trans fats, which are bad for your cardiovascular system. A Snickers bar lists milk chocolate as its first ingredient and peanuts second.

Think that coconut in Mounds and Almond Joy makes those bars healthful? Think again. The first ingredient in each is corn syrup, and a single bar has 80 calories, half from fat. They have high percentages of saturated fat among chocolate bars: 18 percent of the daily value for saturated fat for Mounds, 15 percent for Almond Joy.

A Nestle’s Crunch bar is a good bet: 60 calories, about half from fat, and nothing in it but milk chocolate and crisped rice. Similarly, a plain Hershey’s bar has about 66 calories, half of them from fat (including 10 mg of cholesterol). But its only ingredient is milk chocolate.

At 133 calories avoiding Twizzlers should be a no-brainer! That’s a lot of sugar for 4 tiny pieces!

The Tootsie Pop, hands down is the best choice for a low fat option. A single pop has 60 calories and no fat. Sure, it’s the same mix of sugar, corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oil you see elsewhere. But it takes a long time to eat (unless you’re one of those people who bites through to the filling).

 

Counting calories and fat grams may seem like taking the fun out of this spooky holiday, but better to be armed with the right information will help you make better choices. Now, there’s only only question: What to dress up as? Hmmm? Happy Halloween!

 

For great healthy alternatives on fall comfort food favs click here! Comfort Food without the Guilt

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