October is in full swing and Halloween is right around the corner. Along with the costumes and jack-o-lanterns Halloween candy is sure to be in your future. Parties, trick-or-treating, and even the fun themed mini candies all seem to be tempting us to indulge in the sugary snacks. I will admit recently I even bought some pumpkin spiced flavored chocolate just because the fall flavor sounded so different and fun. Candy has become a staple item for October, but with both childhood and adult obesity on the rise it is important that we are able to monitor our intake closely. Below I have listed a few popular candies and their nutritional values. How does your favorite candy add up?
You can see that one mini package is not terribly high in calories, but when eating a handful at a time the calories and sugar add up quickly! One positive to the mini size candies is that they can be a great low-calorie option for fighting off a sweet tooth. Just make sure to limit yourself to one package. I believe all treats are okay in moderation, but that is the key moderation. It can be very tempting to sit down and eat a basket full of mini-size candies without realizing how many calories you are actually consuming.
Not only is it important to monitor what you are eating, but what your children are eating as well. Consuming diets high in sugar can set kids up for severe health complications such as diabetes and obesity. Instead of banning your children from sweets or throwing their candy out take this opportunity to teach them how to monitor their sweets consumption. (A skill that will sure pay off in the long run.) I recommend keeping candy in a common family area that way you are able to keep an eye on the amount your children are consuming. Limit them to just a couple of pieces a day. An example could be letting them pack one package in their school lunch and then having another small piece after dinner. If they still want sweets after they have reached their limit offer them fruit instead.
Another great tip to keep in mind is that you can always store extra chocolate candy in the freezer to use at a later date. They would make great ingredients in your Christmas cookies or as toppers at an ice cream social. And as always don’t forget to sort through candy with your child and remove any opened or damaged pieces.
Halloween is fun time for children and families but don’t let this one day in October ruin your families health goals for the year.
Sources: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Retrieved on October 10, 2012 From: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/list