Healthy Hints: Treats are Tricks

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Emily Block | Blogger

There’s no doubt that Halloween essentially revolves around candy. Walk into any supermarket this time of year and you’ll probably be bombarded with super size bags of M & M and assorted mixtures approved for trick-or-treating. As a kid, it’s probably your favorite holiday, because you’re more than likely going to collect buckets of sugar-laden goodies. As a parent, it’s probably your least favorite holiday for the same reason.

As much as we all love candy, there’s no argument that it’s probably not the best thing for us. Sugars are the building blocks of carbohydrates, and carbohydrates are the building blocks of candy bars. Eating a single full size Twix will smack you with 24g of added sugars—that’s the amount that the American Heart Association recommends for the entire day. Yikes.
Eating all of this extra sugar one day a year will do little more to your body than make you feel extremely awful. However, if it becomes a daily thing, you can easily develop insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes. Sugar can also be addictive—if you have it once, it might be hard to stop. In the end, the effects of sugar can be more frightening than last weekend’s haunted house.

Here’s the thing. Yes, sugar tastes delicious, but there are also healthier options that are equally satisfying. Here are a few tips to avoid falling into the sugar trap this Halloween.

1. Out of sight, out of mind.

If you’re someone who can’t resist a handful of candy when it’s sitting in front of you, the best thing you can do is avoid the situation. Avoid the candy aisle. If you’re attending a party, bring a healthy treat to share (Check out these adorable options from “Lexi’s Kitchen” and “Feeding Four Little Monkeys!”). Also, try to ration yourself when it comes to candy given out around campus. I like to choose my favorite (hello Reeses!) and only grab one or two. This way, I’m not stuck with a ton of candy in my room when late night hunger strikes.

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2. Consider the consequences

Before you reach for another snickers, consider the following. The average size Snicker’s bar contains 215 calories. That’s 10% of the average daily value for energy intake. It’s also equivalent to what you would burn on a 2.5 mile run, 6 miles of biking, 1 hour of walking, or 20 minutes of jumping jacks. In addition to weight gain, sugar can quickly lead to an energy crash. Eat too much sugar and you’ll feel tired and groggy. Even if it tastes good for a few seconds, it’s usually followed by a couple hours of physical and psychological distress.

3. Eat a full size candy bar.

No, really. It’s okay to treat yourself once in awhile. However, you need to recognize it as a treat, not a cheat. The “fun size” candy bars are pretty much the worst thing ever invented- they’re the ultimate trick! Psychologically, we see it as a fraction of the whole bar— thinking it must be healthier! This mindset can lead to consuming more and more of the snack size treats, often amounting to more than you would eat if you just had a normal candy bar. If you’ve ever heard of the “endless soup” experiment, it’s the same concept. People don’t realize how much they are eating, so they never get the “full” signal. Check out these comparisons from Simply Taralynn She recommends keeping your empty wrappers in front of you so you don’t forget how much you’ve eaten!

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(photos by simplytaralynn.com)

Odds are, you’ll probably come across some kind of candy this Halloween. Even as the holidays come around, it’s important to stick with a healthy eating and exercise routine. Remember, it’s okay to have some candy, just don’t be tricked into more than you’ve bargained for 🙂