Halloween is around the corner – and that can mean a LOT of extra fat and sugar. Whether you have candy around because of trick-or-treaters, friends, children, or your own feeling that October merits candy, don’t sweat it! My advice? Enjoy the holiday and all of its goodies in moderation! Here are some healthy tips to help you enjoy your holiday – guilt-free!
*photograph courtesy of: http://newamericanacuisine.com/
1. Remember the Fundamentals of Good Nutrition: Balance, Variety and Moderation
You CAN enjoy candy as part of a balanced diet. That is, fuel your body with foods that actually offer, well, fuel! Then enjoy some candy, in moderation, knowing that you have fueled your body right and can afford to enjoy a craving every once in awhile! Deprivation will only make your feel like you “deserve” a treat and, truth is, if you practice good nutrition, there is often a little wiggle room to enjoy “empty calories” every once in awhile, if you wish!
2. Why Not Have Some Nutrition With That Candy?
To get into the spirit of fall and Halloween, you can enjoy healthier candy options! My favorites are candy apples or caramel apples. Granted, there are definitely healthier ways to eat apples. But, if you’re craving some candy, it can’t hurt to sneak in some nutrition with all of that sugar! A fun activity is making your own at home, using easy store-bought mixes that create sweet apple-y goodness in no time. For some extra nutrition (along with some extra calories), use caramel or candy as glue for chopped peanuts, dark chocolate pieces or any other topping you’d like! These toppings, specifically, offer some extra nutritional value to the candy, but remember, this is YOUR treat so top it with whatever you’d like! Other ways to get some sweet nutrition out of candy? Dark chocolate dipped fruit! My favorites are strawberries and bananas.
3. Some Sweet News for Chocolate Lovers
Dark chocolate has a ton of nutritional benefits! Don’t overdo it- remember the principle of moderation. However, if chocolate is your thing, don’t sweat it! Look for dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa, since this is the minimum amount that will offer nutritional benefits, such as antioxidants. Also, some studies have suggested that dark chocolate aids in a favorable HDL:LDL cholesterol ratio. In other words, those who enjoy dark chocolate over other types of chocolate (milk, white) tend to have more of the “good” cholesterol (HDL) and less of the “bad” stuff (LDL). Once again, this is not proven, but it has been reflected in some studies. That being said – enjoy in moderation!