Which is Better? The Halloween Edition
Even when you are trying to be on your best behavior and outsmart temptation, Halloween candy can be too much. It is possible to make a choice that not only treats your sweet tooth but also provides some nutritional benefit with the calories.
Single serving M&M packets are a popular candy for trick-or-treaters young and old. Both plain and peanut varieties provide about 240 calories per pack but selecting Peanut M&M's is a slightly better nutritional choice. The Peanut M&M's have a few more grams of fat compared to their regular counterpart but they balance out with additional protein and slightly less sugar. The protein and better-balanced nutrient distribution helps your blood sugar stay more level so you will be satisfied with one sweet treat and experience less of a sugar high and crashing low.
While selecting an individual serving size box of raisins might not meet your candy craving, Raisinets just might. The chocolate covered fruit greets your taste buds first with the pleasure of chocolate. When you take your time to savor the flavor and allow the chocolate to melt away, you are met by the juicy sweet raisin. A single-serving box contains approximately 50 chocolate-covered fiber rich raisins that are easy to enjoy slowly, spreading out the 150 calories and 6 grams of fat they provide. If you are a dark chocolate lover, try the bittersweet option, which can also provide an additional antioxidant benefit. Raisins aren't your thing? Consider the tart and sweet option of Cranberry Raisinets instead. Regardless of which variety you prefer, 100 percent chocolate covered whole dried fruit is a healthier candy choice.
Another portion-controlled option for those that want a taste of chocolate is the York Peppermint Patty. A single serving full size patty provides only 160 calories and 2.5 grams of fat. Select a dark chocolate version and receive some antioxidant benefit as well. This lower calorie, low fat treat can also help suppress the appetite because of the natural properties of peppermint. So if you tend to be a candy snacker that easily slips into situations that cause you to figure out ways to exercise away the Halloween binge, this candy choice might be a good option for you.
Sometimes nothing satisfies the sweet tooth like a candy bar. It is no longer a simple choice between a chocolate bar or a chocolate bar with almonds. Today there are many choices calling our name. You may be tempted to grab the Three Musketeers bar because you have heard it has 45 percent less fat than most leading candy bars. While that is true, it also has very little protein as well so carbohydrates in the form of simple sugar serves as the primary macronutrient source. To help balance macronutrient fuel sources, candy bars with nuts raise the fat and protein content. Mr.Goodbar provides one of the best macronutrient ratio balances in single serving candy bars. Although it contains 257 calories, 40 percent comes from simple sugar carbohydrates (25.5 grams), 50 percent from fat (16 grams), and 10 percent protein (6.5 grams). This ratio will slow the rate of metabolism to help you feel satisfied longer and reduce the risk of a quick rise and fall of blood glucose levels. You will find similar protein totals and macronutrient ratios from other choices like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Reese's Pieces, Oh Henry!, Nestle Crunch, Snickers, Payday or Butterfinger.
While favorites like Skittles, Twizzlers, Bottle Caps, Sweet Tarts, and Candy Corn are fall favorites, caution is advised since they are predominantly simple sugar choices. Although they are enjoyable as you eat them, the familiar sugar high and crashing lows are not far behind when you have finished. If nothing else will do, be smart with your choice. Be sure you use good portion control pointers to stay on track. Consume a protein or fat source as well to provide better macronutrient balance. Try something new this year and mix candy corn with peanuts. They taste just like a Payday candy bar and provide a similar macronutrient balance as well.
The Bottom Line
Avoiding favorite sweet treats can be very difficult especially at Halloween and Harvest Party time. Sometimes, healthier Halloween alternatives provide satisfactory options. Other times these substitutes are cost prohibitive and the traditional favorites are staring us in the face. Making deliberate and informed choices can allow you to enjoy the festivities and stay on track with your goals at the same time.
Try to enjoy your sweet treat after a meal or with a glass of low fat milk or soymilk. This helps increase feelings of fullness and satisfaction, which can limit your urge to go back for a second or third treat. Try to savor each sweet bite pushing away any feelings of guilt or shame that can cause you to want to hurry to hide your choice. By enjoying the experience, you are acknowledging that you have the ability to enjoy treats in a healthy, portion controlled way. This provides confidence and reassurance that you can include any treat in your healthy lifestyle when you practice healthy eating habits and make planned, informed decisions.
What is your favorite Halloween or Harvest Party treat? Do you believe you have the skills necessary to include it this year?
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