Before you fill up the cauldron to hand out some goodies to the friendly goblins, ghosts and fairy tale creatures that come knocking at your door, here are some friendly facts on candy.
Halloween is a child’s candy fantasy !! As for parents, it depends on how you look at the whole candy piece. If you have a sweet tooth like me, you’re probably sneaking into your kid’s stash late at night when they’re fast asleep and stealing some, thinking that you’re doing them a favor since ALL that candy can’t be good for them!. I don’t even have to do that anymore….my kids will just hand over all the “Almond Joy” candy saying “here you go mom” since they know that is my favorite candy. Apparently, 90% adults dip into their kids’ candy stash (Source : National Confectioners’s Association)
Some Nutrition Facts or ( non nutritious facts) on candy:
- The healthiest goodies are marshmallows and mints as they are lower in calories and fat. On the flip side they are not the best choice for any child with braces. Getting stuck between teeth is messy and if those those wires are not cleaned out properly, you’ll be paying extra dental bills. Know this first hand since my oldest has been teeth wired for the last 3 years.
- Hard candy, lollipops , licorice, taffy and caramels are a close second (calorie wise that is) but they are cavity makers. Here’s why: The longer any sugar sits in your mouth it promotes tooth decay and hard candies tend to stay longer as you savor them slowly. To a large extent, this can be avoided by brushing and flossing after the sugar/ candy has been consumed. The same goes for bubble gum and chewing gum (low-calorie, but cavity makers) unless they are sugar-free and kids eating “sugar-free” candy can have problems of its own. A butterscotch candy is only 20 sweet calories and a pack of smarties is a low 25. I personally prefer the hard candy over the rest since my husband is really good at enforcing the ” Brush teeth” after eating.
- Chocolate (a favorite with trick or treaters) is laden with sugar, cholesterol, fat and higher in calories. For ex : a mini butterfinger = 83 cals vs. a mini bag of smarties= 25 cals. The best chocolate covered candy (nutrition wise) would probably be “Twix” since it is part biscuit. The worst (alas my favorite) is “Mounds” = 92 calories and plenty of saturated fat – courtesy of the delicious coconut filling. Dark chocolate is good for the heart, but how many kids like dark chocolate? If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty details of calorie and fat information on candy, click this link.
Having said the above, the following works in my home:
- We have a “leniency policy ” on eating candy on Halloween provided kids eat dinner before and brush and floss after eating a *certain* amount of candy.
- We also have a common area to stash both my kids candy loot. I sneakily sort through and discard some of the candy I do no want them to eat. That way it’s under some supervision and if you think about it….. having candy stashed in a kid’s room becomes irresistible.
- Candy is rationed out over the next few months and kids are encouraged to donate candy to “Whatever cause they want to” the lesser candy around the house the better.
- We do not purchase until the day before Halloween. Buying it beforehand and having it lying around is very tempting for everyone ( me included).
- We also do not hand out candy that we would not like our kids to eat. This said our cauldron is filled with a mix of hard candy, some chocolate, Jelly bellies ( my favorite low-calorie candy) some healthy granola bars, packs of raisins and rice krispy treats. I avoid buying candy that has Trans Fat on the nutrition label. To look for indications of trans fat, look for terms that say partially hydrogenated etc.,
I am quite sure that you have your own rules and regulations when it comes to candy … do share, would love to hear from you. Have a Safe Sweet Halloween!
About The Author
Sunithi Selvaraj is a Registered Dietitian with a sweet tooth and a passion for eating healthy. (Quite a combo.) She works as a community Nutritionist in Washington DC and has a practical approach to living a healthy lifestyle. She blogs over at Sue’s Nutrition Buzz.