Weighing In: Healthy Halloween Swaps

This weeks Weighing In is a part of 13 Days of Halloween. Valley has a special love for Halloween, so it’s only natural that we want to celebrate early. For the 13 days leading up to Halloween, we’ll be reveling in all of the creepy, spooky and sometimes stylish fun. Join in with our countdown of the 13 Days of Halloween.

We may be too old to go trick or treating, but it’s hard to walk by that bowl of Halloween candy without grabbing a few pieces. I mean, who walks out of Redifer Dining Commons without taking a handful of Hershey’s kisses? A little bit won’t hurt, right?

While it’s okay to indulge in something sweet every now and then, you shouldn’t let the candy deceive you. One fun sized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup has 80 calories, one fun size Butterfinger has 100 calories and one fun size Take 5 has 105 calories.

These numbers may not seem terrible, but that’s just one fun size candy bar. And let’s be honest, nobody eats just one.

Lynn Parker Klees, instructor in the department of nutritional sciences, says that everybody is allowed empty calories (food with no nutritional value) each day. Of course! We’re all human…and what’s October without a few treats? However, someone on a 2,000 calorie diet should eat no more than 200 empty calories a day. She recommends keeping candy calories under 100 calories per day.

I know that one fun size candy bar isn’t going to satisfy my sweet tooth (there’s nothing fun about a candy bar smaller than my finger), so we’ve concocted some alternatives to help you get your candy cravings for Halloween.

Klees suggests dipping fruit in chocolate and freezing them for some sweet frozen treats. Dipping the fruit in dark chocolate increases the nutrient value and adds antioxidants. Try freezing chocolate covered bananas and putting them on a stick for a healthy popsicle!

Another classic fall favorite that won’t kill your diet is a caramel covered apple. Sprinkle some nuts on the top for healthy fats that everybody needs in their diets. Or if you don’t want fruit, snack on roasted pumpkin seeds or make your own popcorn balls with peanut butter and honey. Despite common belief, popcorn is healthy. Whole grains with peanut butter and honey for sweetness; what else could you want?

There are many healthy swaps for candy that will help you stay on track, but remember it’s okay to eat some sweets.

“If you really want something, have a small amount of it and really enjoy it,” Klees says. “Remind yourself it is okay to get off track, it doesn’t destroy a person. A lot of people say, ‘I’m a failure’ when they get off track. Change the way you think. Say, ‘I’ll just get back on track tomorrow.’” Happy snacking!

Enjoy Halloween and all the joys that come with it. And we promise we won’t judge if we see you trick or treating.

Photo by Yuting Zhang

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