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How to Have a Healthy Halloween

10/19/2011 11:11:15 AM

Tags: Halloween, Health Tips, Tips, Justine Patton, Snacking, Dark Chocolate

J.PattonThe calorie count on most Halloween candy is enough to send you heading for the hills—and for good reason. You’d have to walk almost three miles to burn off one full-sized chocolate bar. And let’s face it, you never stop at just one. But don’t be too frightened. It’s possible to indulge in this sweet and scary holiday (almost) completely guilt-free.

It’s true that Halloween is the busiest candy-buying holiday of the year in the United States. In fact, 25 percent of all candy sales (or $2 billion) is devoted to trick-or-treaters annually. The most popular Halloween candy among kids is candy corn. In 2001, Americans purchased 20 million pounds of the orange and yellow candy, according to the National Confectioners Association (NCA). M&Ms ranked second on the list, with candy bars and then Hershey’s Kisses following close behind.

10-19-11-halloween-candy 
When your candy takes over your kitchen counter, don't let
it take over your calorie count as well.
Photo by respres/Courtesy
Flickr 

With all the goodies to choose from, it’s easy to simply throw up your hands in frustration and chow down until you’ve reached sugar coma status. However, here are a few tips to keep your family’s candy consumption under control:

• Decide on dark chocolate. Research has shown dark chocolate contains a large number of antioxidants, which can help improve your overall health and fight against disease. In addition, studies have shown dark chocolate can help lower both blood pressure and cholesterol. Chocolate might even put a little pep in your step, since it can stimulate endorphin production in the brain and lift your mood.

• Go for a “fruity” snack. Fruits and veggies probably aren’t on the top of your child’s—or your—list of favorite sugar-coated sweets. However, some fruity treats may offer some nutritional benefits. A serving of Kellogg’s Fruit-Flavored Snacks, for example, are fat-free and contain 100 percent of your vitamin C needed for the day. Hershey’s Twizzlers Strawberry Twists, while they don’t provide much by way of nutrients, are a low-fat snack that won’t do too much damage to your day.

• Slurp on a sucker. Suckers generally take longer to finish, so they will leave you satisfied longer. Also, many contain little to no fat and minimal calories. Tootsie Caramel Apple Pops and Dum Dum Pops are both delicious, health-conscious picks.

If you want to completely escape the candy trap, however, here are a few alternatives to the traditional sweet snacks that line store shelves:
  
• Juice boxes
• Individual packs of raisins, trail mix and popcorn
• Small bags of popcorn
• Cheese and cracker packages
• Granola bars
• Mini rice cereal bars

For more of our favorite snooky snacks, click here.

Happy snacking!



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