Since eating 500 extra calories per day can lead to a one-pound weight gain per week, this candy situation is worth taking a moment to strategize and rethink… so we can all enjoy Halloween on a healthier note.
Studio 5 Health and Nutrition Contributor Melanie Douglass has some suggestions on trading that Halloween candy for something better.
Nutritionally speaking, most Halloween candy falls into the same category. So instead of picking one piece over the other, step back and think about how many “pieces” of candy you typically eat in one day. What’s your quota? Do you usually grab one or two pieces? Maybe five or six? Whatever your count, be honest with yourself. (Or it’s futile!)
1 piece… try this: Go for it! But make it a Snickers or a Kit-Kat.
Sticking to ONE is a reasonable snack. Enjoy it and don’t fret. I like fun-size Snickers and Kit-Kats because they are the lowest calorie option with some protein and fat for balance (a roll of Smarties may be the lowest calorie candy, but they are straight sugar).
2 pieces… try: 1 Tbsp. Pumpkin seed kernels + 1 fun-size bag M&Ms (or 1 Tbsp. chocolate chips)
This little snack is waaay more filling than it sounds. Pumpkin seeds are heart-healthy (good fats + fiber) and this unique combo makes for a satisfying chocolate crunch.
3 pieces… try: a cup of hot cocoa made with skim milk
You’ll get more protein and calcium + the chocolate!
4 pieces… try: Stonyfield farms Oikos Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is my new fav food — it’s much higher in protein than other yogurts, plus it’s low in fat, low in sugar and smooth as silk.
You can add a spoonful of craisins and walnuts, which takes a serving from 100 calories to about 200; but that’s still get fewer calories than 4 pieces of candy and more nutritional value (vitamin E, omega-3 fats, fiber, protein, iron, copper, manganese).
5 pieces… try: 3/4 cup Haagen-Dazs ice cream
That’s right. Haagen-Dazs. You’ll get less sugar this way, plus more calcium and protein… and you’ll likely feel much more satisfied.
6 pieces… try: an actual meal!
Just think, if you are the type of person to mindlessly chew on six pieces of Halloween candy, you could have eaten a full-fledged meal, like:
1 whole can of tuna
– with light mayo
– on wheat bread
– with a glass of milk
– and a bowl of fresh berries
Sure, six pieces of candy might sound tastier, but a protein-packed meal with almost 50% of your daily fiber needs, plus healthy doses of all the b-vitamins, omega-3 fats and zinc, will help you feel better in the long run… mind, body and spirit.
For more information, you can visit Melanie’s blog at www.melaniedouglass.blogspot.com