It’s that time of year again when those sugary temptations seem to be in more places than ever – in our offices, friend’s houses, classrooms, and staring at us as we walk into grocery stores. We hear all the time that we should moderate our intake but all we can think is “I love candy corns!” Guilty of this same thing myself sometimes, I’ve put together 3 Things to Remember while navigating the Halloween season.
» It is recommended that we all stick to 40g or less of processed, refined sugars in a single day. Try to stay within this limit, if you can, during this month. This includes the combined total of the sugars added to processed foods you eat at meals/snacks and that Halloween candy. This can be tricky with single serving packages that have no nutrition label (you’ll find it on the bag they originally came in). Try to educate yourself about your favorite candies before enjoying a moderately small amount of your favorites. One of the best websites is http://www.calorieking.com which, unlike some of the other popular sites, verifies the nutrition label information.
» Chocolate candies and candy bars may say “no trans fat” but that simply means less than 0.5g per serving/mini candy bar, not 0%. Milky Way and Snickers bars have some of the highest levels, while some things you’d never expect (like Reese’s Pieces and Tootsie Rolls) also contain trans fat. Although we generally get less per package thanks to the mini serving sizes available at Halloween, it is still an arduous world to navigate. It is generally recommended to avoid trans fats altogether, which can be tricky with the loopholes in labeling laws. I found a great site that lists some candies containing trans fats to help you avoid them altogether: http://www.acaloriecounter.com/candy-chocolate.php
» Serving sizes are key for both the processed sugar and trans fat amounts I’ve described above. Try to stick to a single Halloween-sized package (especially if it’s extra high in sugar and/or trans fats). If you are trick-or-treating with your kids this season, try to find one you can walk to instead of driving across town. Something that subtracts some calories burned for the extra ones you’ll be taking in will help round out your healthy Halloween!
Jenn Jackson, MPH
Photo credit: http://www.therawdivas.com/HHH/images/halloween2.jpg