By Eileen Ferrer, Skinny Gene Nutritionist
Do you have a sweet tooth? From time to time, I need my candy fix. My weakness is taffy or anything chocolate. Typically, I do not give into temptation; however, this is the time of orange and black, not to be mistaken with “Orange is the New Black,” but this is the season where there is no shortage of candy. As orange and black themed packaging overloads the aisles of many stores, offices, and homes, there is temptation everywhere. According to the National Retail Foundation, Americans purchase about 600 million pounds of candy each year for Halloween, which is equivalent to the weight of 6 Titanic ships. The average of American households will spend $47 on Halloween candy. So where does all that candy go? Well, the average American will eat 3.4 pounds of candy over Halloween. The consumption of this much candy is not good for your teeth or waistline, as most candies are high in added calories, sugar and fat.
Whether or not this is the one time out of the year you indulge in sweets as you pick your favorites from your child’s plastic pumpkin or from the desks of your co-workers, you do have options to make a healthier choice. Here are a few popular Halloween candies that have been deemed a healthier or better option compared to their sweet counterparts.
Better Candy Choices
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups vs. Snickers
Better Choice: Snickers
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups has more protein, but compared to two fun size pieces of Snickers, Snickers contain less total fat, saturated fat, and 10 less calories.
Peanut M&M’s vs. Skittles
Better Choice: Peanut M&M’s
A snack size bag of Skittles contains 61 calories. Though the same size bag of Peanut M&M’s contains more calories, 91 calories, it is lower on the glycemic index, and will release sugars slower into the bloodstream; whereas Skittles will spike your blood sugars at an increased rate.
Twix vs. Kit Kat
Better Choice: Kit Kat
A Kit Kat has 20 less calories, and less saturated fat and sodium.
Candy Corn vs. Tootsie Roll
Better Choice: It’s a tie.
Candy corn one of the most popular candy choices during Halloween, there is even a day designated to it; October 30th is National Candy Corn Day. However, Tootsie Rolls and candy corn have the same nutritional value if you were to consume 26 pieces of candy corn or 6 pieces of the bite sized Tootsie Rolls.
Butterfinger or York Peppermint Pattie
Better Choice: York Peppermint Pattie
For three fun size York Peppermint Patties, it contains 150 calories, 3 grams of fat and 15 miligrams of sodium. Two fun size Butterfinger bars contains 200 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 100 milligrams of sodium.
Starburst or Jolly Rancher
Better Choice: Jolly Rancher
Consuming three pieces of Starburst candies has fewer calories compared to a Jolly Rancher. However, since Jolly Ranchers are hard candies it takes longer to finish, and you will be less likely to eat more.
Sweet Tarts or Smarties
Better Choice: Smarties
Do you sometimes think who eats Smarties? I know I do, and now you know why. For an individual roll of Smarties it contains 25 calories, and 5 grams of sugar. As for Sweet Tarts, it contains 50 calories and 13 grams of sugar for 8 pieces.
Pay Day vs. Milky Way
Better Choice: Milky Way
In two fun-size pieces of Milky Way, it contains 50% less fat and sodium.
Almond Joy vs. Mounds
Better Choice: Another tie.
It’s a tie between the two. For each fund size Mounds and Almond Joy, they both contain about 80 calories, have equal amounts of fat, 4.5 grams, saturated fat, 3 grams, and carbohydrates, 10 grams.
While the average amount of candy consumed is more than three pounds during Halloween, just remember moderation is important. You can curb your sweet tooth with juicy fruit, low-fat yogurt with honey, or dark chocolate if you need a chocolate kick.