Have Your Candy and Eat It, Too!

Have Your Candy and Eat It, Too!

It’s almost Halloween and there is candy – and sugar (gasp!) – everywhere. Do you stay away? Do you just eat some of it? Do you ration your kid’s candy troves? Fortunately, there are candy options that can be indulged in this holiday season without guilt. Remarkable things have been done with sugar-free candies or alternately, candies that use real cane sugar rather than the dreaded corn syrup. Or, if you’re looking for that sweet kick without opening a candy wrapper, alternatives like dried cherries, conveniently available in small packages, are available.

It’s All About Moderation

Today Health agrees, you don’t have to fear the sweet morsels; rather just limit the amount you eat. (Historical footnote: There was a time, as recently as the 1930s, when candy was considered an energy-dense, healthful food for a largely undernourished population.)

Today, even health conscious families still make allowances for a few pieces of candy here or there. Here are some guidelines to consider:

  • Determine how many pieces one is allotted per day like 5 or 6
  • If certain candies are larger than others, count the 1 candy as a hypothetical 2, making your candy intake say 3 or 4 pieces (don’t buy big bags or bars, maybe go for the bite size options)
  • Longer lasting candies like lollipops can eliminate the urge for eating multiple pieces of candy
  • If you can’t remember when you got the candy to begin with, throw it away
  • Oh, and don’t forget to brush your teeth if you do eat candy; the sugars left behind when it’s gone can cause more harm than good

Candy Alternatives

The occasional treat aside, any smart diet should include sweet alternatives to candy, including:

  • Raspberries – contain antioxidants, fiber, and potassium; help lower blood pressure and boost good cholesterol; all while providing a sweet, tasty, healthier, natural snack
  • Strawberries – the combination of juicy and sweet provides you with 100% of your daily vitamin C (only 46 calories) if you eat about 8 of them, and if you really want, sprinkle a bit of sugar over them for a mere 3 calories more
  • All natural fruit bars – only 50 calories and you can get 15% or your daily vitamins from one fruity pop
  • JELL-O Cup– one single serve cup is just 10 calories, add whipped cream for an additional 25 calories and you’ll have a delectable light and airy snack without feeling full
  • Hard Candies – like a Jolly Rancher, the perfect combination of sticky, sweet and salty, these melt in your mouth and last a long time, providing the same satisfaction, if not more, as chewing on, say, a Twix
  • Dark Chocolate – if you REALLY want that chocolaty flavor, dark chocolate has more antioxidants in it than milk chocolate, plus a few bites of the richer taste may be all you need to treat that sweet tooth

So You Can’t or Don’t Want to Hand Out Candy

For those who want to make a clean break from candy this Halloween season, help has arrived in the form of Teal Pumpkin Project. The movement encourages communities to start a new tradition that will help make this holiday season less scary for children with food allergies. Houses marked with teal pumpkins out front alert parents that those houses provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters.Now that is a boo!-tiful thing!

Sources – in order of appearance:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry. Raspberry.
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strawberry. Strawberry.
  3. http://www.outshinesnacks.com/home.aspx. Outshine Fruit Bars.
  4. http://www.jello.com/. JELL-O Website.
  5. http://www.hersheys.com/jolly-rancher/. Hershey’s Jolly Rancher’s Landing Page.
  6. http://www.foodallergy.org/teal-pumpkin-project#.VFAJnTTF-Sp. FARE’s: The Teal Pumpkin Project.

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