Halloween Candy Doesn’t Have to be Scary

With Halloween a week away, it’s easy to find yourself thinking about candy.  Maybe you have to buy a few (or more) bags to give to your neighborhood’s trick-or-treaters.  Or you’re wondering how much of it your children will be coming home with.  The fact is, candy is everywhere this time of year, and for some people, the thought of it can be downright frightening.  Candy is easy to overeat and can derail even the most steadfast dieters – with so many tempting options, it’s hard to stick to just one piece.  Fortunately, I’m here to tell you that Halloween candy doesn’t have to be so scary.  It’s easy to avoid overloading on fun size treats if you follow a few simple rules:

  • Every diet should allow for 200 expendable, or “treat” calories each day.  If Halloween candy is your treat of choice this time of year, make sure you limit yourself to 200 calories worth, and don’t indulge in any other treats (cookies, donuts) on the days you eat candy.
  • Put extra candy in the fridge or freezer.  You won’t be tempted by the smell of it out on the counter, and you’ll be less likely to impulsively reach for something that might break your teeth!
  • Stick to “fun size” treats, with about 100 calories per serving.  Sometimes a small burst of sugar is all it takes to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Choose candy with some sort of nutritional value.  You’ll feel more satisfied eating something with a little bit of fiber or protein than just eating pure sugar (pixie sticks, licorice, Skittles, Starburst).  Some of the “best” candy choices include:

Peanut M&Ms


Anyone who’s been to a nutrition Lunch ‘n Learn knows that Peanut M&Ms are one of the healthiest vending machine snacks.  They’re a healthy Halloween candy choice for the same reasons – they keep you feeling full due to their fiber and protein content (thanks to the peanuts), and are overall lower in sugar and sodium than most other candies.   M&Ms are a good choice for volume eaters – their small size means you can eat a lot of them in one serving (as opposed to just eating a single candy bar that’s gone in a few seconds).  For an even healthier option, look for the dark chocolate variety.

File:Snickers wrapped.jpg

A Snickers bar has similar properties to Peanut M&Ms – it’s full of peanuts, which contain fiber and protein to keep you feeling full throughout the day.  Snickers are slightly higher in sugar, due to the caramel they contain, but are an overall more satisfying choice than candy bars that don’t contain hunger-satisfying peanuts.

York Peppermint Pattie

York Peppermint Patties are a good choice for several reasons.  They are made from dark chocolate, which contains antioxidants that help with aging and immunity and is lower in sugar and higher in fiber than milk chocolate.  And they contain a mint filling – mint is a strong flavor, and research has shown that strong flavors can help you feel full in small quantities.  So you may  need onlyone Peppermint Pattie – not the whole bag – to feel satisfied.
Hershey’s Special Dark Bar 

Dark chocolate, as mentioned above, is high in fiber and antioxidants, and fairly low in sugar, as far as chocolate is concerned.  A dark chocolate Hershey bar will keep your blood sugar more stable than its milk chocolate counterparts, and it will provide you with some of the nutrients needed for positive aging and immunity.

I hope that your Halloween is filled with more treats than tricks, and that you can enjoy the candy that comes along with the season – in moderation, of course!

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