As the weather cools down and children go back to school, store shelves are already lined with plentiful bags of tempting Halloween goodies.
According to the National Confectioners Association, 90 percent of parents admit to occasionally dipping into their children’s Halloween haul. Even the most well-intentioned adult can be swayed into buying sale-priced, bulk-sized bags of treats.
TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, has solutions to help navigate the unofficial kickoff to the “holiday eating season” and prevent a dietary disaster.
Halloween Made Healthier
•Popcorn balls – Sugar and corn syrup transform a previously high-fiber, low-calorie snack into calorie overload.
•A 100-calorie pack of kettle corn – This portion-controlled snack has a hint of sweet without regret.
• Full-size candy bars – In general, the bigger the bar, the more calories it has.
•A few “miniatures” of your favorite bar – Munch on a mini version of your favorite treat, but be careful to dole out a specific portion in advance to avoid overdoing it. Just seven mini Milky Ways has about the same number of calories as a full-size bar – and “snack-size” versions are even higher in calories. Moderation is key.
•Caramel apples – The average caramel apple has at least 300 calories, but, depending on the size of the apple, thickness of the caramel, and toppings like nuts or chocolates, it can closer to 600 to 800 calories!
•Plain apple slices dipped into peanut butter or low-fat caramel sauce – Keep the apple’s health benefits while dipping into a satiating sweet or salty condiment.
•To help avoid overindulging, wait to buy candy for trick-or-treaters until a few days before Halloween. If it’s not in your house, you can’t eat it.
•Buy treats that aren’t so enticing. If chocolate is a food trigger, buy only gummy treats or small boxes of raisins to distribute to trick-or-treaters.
•Mix up the candy bowl with a variety of non-traditional but nutritious goodies like individual packs of raisins, pretzels, or trail mix; mini dark chocolate and nuts bars; and fiber-filled chocolate-covered raisins.
•Remove excess candy corn and other sweets immediately after trick-or-treat hours end. Give treats to a food pantry, homeless shelter, or, if needed, toss surplus candy in the garbage.
TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the original, nonprofit weight-loss support and wellness education organization, was established more than 62 years ago to champion weight-loss support and success. Founded and headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, TOPS promotes successful, affordable weight management with a philosophy that combines healthy eating, regular exercise, wellness information, and support from others at weekly chapter meetings. TOPS has about 170,000 members in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada.
Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. To find a local chapter, view www.tops.org or call (800) 932-8677.