Halloween doesn’t have to be scary for your diet

WASHINGTON — There are ways to make Halloween easier for our waistlines — if not healthy and fun.

Sally Squires, who writes the Lean Plate Club™ blog, said you can still have your candy and eat it too.

Halloween is almost here and so are the treats. But Squires says you and your children can enjoy your favorite candies on the scariest day of the year without blowing your diet.

To be sure, Americans like candy. It is estimated that 158 million Americans participate in Halloween, and billions of dollars will be spent on candy. The National Retail Federation says the average American eats about three pounds of chocolate during Halloween, and the average trick-or-treating child consumes about three cups of sugar.

So what can you do to reduce the calories? Squires recommends mixing in dark chocolate. It’s less sweet, has heart-health benefits and has a positive effect on controlling blood pressure.

“Kids like milk chocolate, and probably won’t eat as much of the dark chocolate because it’s not as sweet,” Squires said.

She also suggested buying individual candy sizes, such as Hershey’s Kisses and Dove Chocolate miniatures. The Kisses have about 22 calories per piece, while the Dove miniatures have about 42.

Give alternatives to candy

Squires suggested offering a variety of treats other than candy that aren’t quite as high in calories. “You can make little snack packs of pretzels, trail mix or goldfish to give away,” she said. “You’ll have to be aware, however, that some kids have nut allergies. But these are nice options that shouldn’t result in you getting a ‘trick’ for not giving out candy on Halloween.”

Squires added that there’s an additional benefit to alternative snacks: They reduce adults’ temptation to eat more of the candy they’re giving away. Another strategy for leftover candy, plus all of that loot your kids bring home, is putting them out of mind and out of reach after Halloween night.

“Take a plastic freezer bag, load it up with the leftover candy and put it in the freezer,” Squires suggested. “You can dole out a piece or two to your kids for a couple days after Halloween until they forget about it.”

Of course, she noted, you could also get the leftover candy out of the house entirely by taking it to the office and tempting all of your co-workers.

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