Choose Your Halloween Candy Wisely

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Did you know that the average American eats about 24 pounds of candy each year? Of course, in addition to Valentines and Easter, the majority of candy consumption will likely take place this weekend for Halloween. If you want the treat without the trick (weight gain!), Eat This Not That (Men’s Health) and Hungry Girl this week are offering tips on the Best and the Worst of the Halloween candy options.

While you may be choosing “fun size” candies in an effort to reduce calorie and sugar intake, sometimes those can added up more quickly than you expect. For example, three mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups contain more sugar than a glazed doughnut. And nine Twizzlers, while being fat-free, still contain as many calories as a Wendy’s Double Stack Burger.

Eat This Not That” has named the Butterfinger as the “Worst Fun Size Candy Bar” available. It contains 100 calories, 4 grams of fat (2 of them saturated) and 10 grams of sugar. The popular food swap guide suggests eating a 3 Musketeers instead, saving 37 calories and 2 grams of fat (sugar content is essentially the same). Twix Miniatures has the worst saturated fat content of the bite-size options – 6 of its 8 grams of fat are saturated. The candy also contains 15 grams of sugar and 150 calories in just three pieces.

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Hungry Girl (aka Lisa Lillien)has issued its “2010 Halloween Candy Guide”, naming “Guilt-Free Classics” such as Tootsie Caramel Apple Pop, Jolly Rancher Hard Candy, and Smarties among its better options. For a chocolate fix, she suggests Hershey’s Kisses, Kit Kat Mini, and Nestle Crunch mini among the smarter choices. And for a Halloween treat only available for a short time – try the York Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Pattie Pumpkin for only 50 calories and 1 gram of fat.

Don’t forget that two popular candies, including Nestle’s Raisinettes, have been recalled recently so check out this recent news release.

After Halloween, instead of keeping a box full of candy that will only tempt you into eating more, why not donate it to a great cause. Dentists across the country are collecting unwanted Halloween candy on November 1st and sending it to Operation Gratitude, an organization that will package the candy into one of 60,000 holiday packages for our troops.

Want more tips for a healthy and happy Halloween? The Staten Island YMCA offers this advice:
• Instead of candy, try alternatives such as pretzels, granola bars, and dried fruit for trick-or-treaters. You may also want to pass along non-food items such as stickers, tattoos, or bubble blowers.
• Give kids a healthy snack or feed them a healthy dinner before trick-or-treating. Sending them out on a full stomach is one way to prevent candy overload.
• Create a rule on candy intake, such as only 1 or 2 pieces on Halloween night and then saving the rest for treats for good behavior or completion of chores.

And of course, keep your kids safe, using these Ten Tips from fellow eMaxhealth reporter Ramona Bates.

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