Candy season is upon us once again and while there really isn’t anything healthy about candy (unless it’s dark chocolate), it’s fine to enjoy a treat now and then. The problem with Halloween is we tend to get enough treats to last the whole year, but we finish them off within a week. Not only do our kids bring home a ton of candy, but we might have too many left-overs if we don’t get enough trick-or-treaters.
Here are some tips to finding the best treats for your candy bowl:
- Read the food label – Look at the fat, sugar, and protein content. You want some fat and/or protein to help reduce the sugar effect on the body. Fat slows down digestion so it can help the sugar release slower into the bloodstream instead of rushing in all at once and spiking blood sugar. Avoid candies that are 100% sugar.
- Look at the ingredients – Avoid candies that contain the word ‘hydrogenated’ in the ingredient list. Hydrogenated fats are inflammatory and increase the risk of diabetes. Avoid candies that contain artificial colors.
- Dark chocolate – This is the best option as dark chocolate has some redeeming qualities. It’s a good source of magnesium, a mineral that most American’s don’t get enough of. It also contains antioxidants that support brain health. Of course, children may not be too keen on dark chocolate because it doesn’t contain as much sugar as milk chocolate, but milk chocolate is better than a pure sugar candy.
- Nuts – Add protein and fat making the candy a little more nutritious. Allergies could be an issue with nuts, however, so if you know you will have visitors with allergies, stick with plain chocolate.
- Hand out toys or school supplies – Instead of giving candy to trick-or-treaters, give small bouncy balls, fun pencils and erasers, crazy glasses, stickers, henna tattoos or bubbles. Kids can have a lot of fun with these and they will still get candy from someone else, so it’s a win-win.
When you are home going through your loot, divide it up so that only a few pieces of candy are eaten a day, preferably right after a meal. Keep the candy out of sight so you won’t be tempted to dig in and enjoy candy season without the kids bouncing off the walls.