Archive for the tag - candy

3 Ways Halloween Candy Is Healthier Than You Think.

Trick... or treat?

The scariest part of Halloween may be having those tempting bags of candy a little too close for comfort. But, I was able to pull together a few science-based reasons to allow yourself an indulgence. As if you needed the encouragement.

  1. Researchers from Louisiana State University found a link between fruity candy (i.e., gummy bears, etc.) and smaller waists and lower body mass indexes. It sounds like a fake headline – and it flies in the face of exceptions, so how can it be true? There’s no question that fruity candy is terribly unhealthy; it’s loaded in sugar, empty calories and devoid of nutrition. But participants reported eating an average of 1.3 ounces of candy – a fairly small quantity. So it may speak to the importance of moderation and allowing for the occasional splurge.
  2. Eating dessert more often can help you lose weight. The University School of Medicine in Athens concluded, based on their research, that people who ate four low-calorie desserts a week lost 9 pounds more than those who had only one larger splurge. In other words, don’t deprive yourself. Instead, recognize that some desserts and candies are healthier than others (eating dark chocolate, for example, has some tremendous benefits) – and have only a few bites.
  3. Cutting up your candy = eating less. We know that we can make optical illusions work for us when trying to eat right. Using a smaller plate, for example, causes people to consume less. Similarly, it’s wiser to eat out of a bowl or off a plate than straight from the bag or box. According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, cutting up candies results in 60 fewer calories eaten. It tricks the mind into believing more candy has been consumed, and thus the sweet tooth is satisfied sooner. You can also use this with other snacks and treats, too!

There’s a common thread in all of this: Moderation is more effective than deprivation. When we deprive ourselves of the foods we crave, those cravings get stronger and stronger until we break under pressure. Instead, it’s perfectly fine – and healthier – to occasionally indulge responsibly. Tonight, give yourself permission. 🙂

Happy Halloween!

Why Low-Fat/Fat-Free Means Very Little.

Swedish fish: A fat-free food that's likely to make you fat.

Yesterday, a package of those sugary, chewy “Swedish Fish” candies caught my eye. On the product’s package was a banner that exclaimed, “A fat free food.” And while this bag of candy may be devoid of fat, do not be tricked by this treat – there is nothing healthy about it.

Of course, Swedish Fish candies aren’t alone – countless products try to position themselves as attractive options for dieters by touting their low-fat or fat-free nutritional content. But really, that one characteristic tells a very incomplete story about the product’s nutritional value (or lack thereof).

Firstly, fat isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As we all know, there are bad fats (like those found in fried foods) and good fats (like those found in nuts, olive oil and avocados). Getting those essential healthy fats is important. If you had to pick between a package of Swedish Fish and a handful of unsalted nuts, opting for the fat-free option would be a big misstep. There are many higher-fat food products that are healthy and nourishing.

Secondly, a fat-free label says nothing about the rest of the nutritional content. Like sodium, carbs, calories and sugars. While Swedish Fish may have no fat content, it’s made out of sugar! Sugar is absolutely terrible for the human body – especially if you are looking to release or maintain your body weight. Sugar is flushed with empty calories, has been linked to a number of debilitating and deadly diseases and is quite possibly addictive. In addition, many fat-free salad dressings, for example, cut out the fat but add in extra sugar to enhance the flavoring. The same is often done with salt. Clearly, the fat-free label isn’t telling the full story.

So get the whole truth. Ignore the so-called healthy benefits touted on a product’s packaging. Look at the complete nutritional information (usually found on the side of the packaging) and make an informed decision from there.

8 Things to do with Leftover Halloween Candy!

Yet another great use for your unwanted Hershey's bars...

Is a giant bag of Halloween candy staring you in the face? Well… here are a few suggestions for what you can do with it:

  1. Eat it! Yes, you read that correctly. Is a personal trainer advocating for you to eat simple sugars? I am. But here’s the catch: Eat the candy in moderation. Treat yourself to a few pieces. It’s Halloween for crying out loud! Just don’t overdo it and know when to stop. I’m a fan of eating healthy 80% of the time. This can be the other 20%.
  2. Donate it! There are a few places that will be eager to take your candy—including food pantries and nursing homes. Let’s assume these places will dole your candy out in appropriate and reasonable quantities.
  3. Store it! Just because you have a bag of candy doesn’t mean you need to eat it all today. Even the most perishable of candies last longer than 3 months—chocolate lasts an entire year (and you can even freeze it)! Heck, you could probably give some of that candy away to next year’s trick-or-treaters.
  4. Throw a fiesta! Pack the candy into a piñata—unload the sugar on your friends.
  5. Sell your candy to a dentist! Yup, just visit www.halloweencandybuyback.com to find a participating dentist near you.
  6. Make art! Professional artists make art of candy, so why can’t you? Channel your creativity and hang your Halloween treats on the wall.
  7. Save it for the holidays! Christmas is just around the corner—and one of my favorite activities is making a ginger bread house. It’s also a great way to use up your candy without feeling particularly wasteful. You can also use candies to make decorations, ornaments and garlands.
  8. Kink it up! Melt down the chocolate bars (though not too hot!) and drizzle it over someone you love (or lust). Double yummy.

There are a lot of great things you can do with your Halloween candy that don’t involve you gorging yourself. Any more ideas? Share in the comments below!