Some Hard and Sweet facts about Halloween Candy

Before you fill up the cauldron to hand out some goodies to the friendly goblins, ghosts and fairytale creatures that come knocking at your door, here are some friendly facts on candy.

Halloween is a child’s candy fantasy and a dentists’ nightmare. As for parents, it depends on how you look at the whole candy piece. If you have a sweet tooth like me, you’re probably sneaking into your kid’s stash late at night when they’re fast asleep and stealing some, thinking that you’re doing them a favor since ALL that candy can’t be good for them!.  I don’t even have to do that anymore….my kids will just hand over all the “Almond Joy” candy  saying “here you go mom” since they know that is my favorite candy.  Apparently, 90% adults dip into their kids’ candy stash (Source : National Confectioners’s Association)

Some Nutrition Facts or ( non nutritious facts) on candy:

  • The healthiest goodies are marshmallows and mints as they are lower in calories and fat. On the flip side they are horrible for any child with braces …… getting stuck between teeth is messy. I should know this because my oldest has been teeth wired for the last two years.
  •  Hard candy, lollipops , licorice,  taffy and caramels are a close second (calorie wise that is) but they  are cavity makers. Here’s why: The longer any sugar sits in your mouth it promotes tooth decay and hard candies tend to stay longer as you savor them slowly. To a large extent, this can be avoided by brushing and flossing after the sugar/ candy has been consumed. The same goes for bubble gum and chewing gum (low-calorie, but cavity makers) unless they are sugar-free and kids eating “sugar-free” candy  can have problems of its own. A butterscotch candy is only 20 sweet calories and a pack of smarties is a low 25. I personally prefer the hard candy over the rest since my husband is really good at enforcing the ” Brush teeth”  after eating.
  • Chocolate (a favorite with trick or treaters) is laden with sugar, cholesterol, fat and higher in calories. For ex : a mini butterfinger = 83 cals vs. a mini bag of smarties= 25 cals. The best chocolate covered candy (nutrition wise) would probably be “Twix” since it is part biscuit. The worst (alas my favorite) is “Mounds” = 92 calories and plenty of saturated fat – courtesy of the delicious coconut filling. Dark chocolate is good for the heart, but how many kids like dark chocolate?  If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty details of calorie and fat information on candy, click the link below.

 

Having said the above, the following works in my home:

  • We have a “leniency policy ” on eating candy on Halloween provided kids eat  dinner before and brush and floss after eating a *certain* amount of candy.
  • We also have a common area to stash both my kids candy loot. I sneakily sort through and discard some of the candy I do no want them to eat. That way it’s under some supervision and if you think about it….. having candy stashed in a kid’s room becomes irresistible.
  • Candy is rationed out over the next few months and kids are encouraged to donate candy to “Whatever cause they want to”  the lesser candy around the house the better.
  • We do not purchase untill the day before Halloween. Buying it beforehand and having it lying around is very tempting for everyone ( me included).
  • We also do not hand out candy that we would not like our kids to eat. This said our cauldron is filled with a mix of hard candy, some chocolate,  Jelly bellies ( my fav low-calorie candy) some healthy granola bars, packs of raisins, Rice krispy treat, bags of pretzels and some little knick knacks. I avoid buying candy that has Trans Fat on the nutrition label. To look for indications of trans fat, look for terms that say partially hydrogenated etc., Take the poll below to see how other families fare on this.
  • My neighbors actually fill their cauldron with loose change in the form of pennies, nickels and dimes and kids grab a handful. This is money they would normally spend on Halloween candy. My kids love to dip into the loose change.

I am quite sure that you have your own rules and regs when it comes to candy … do share, would love to hear from you. Have a Safe Sweet Halloween!

 

 

 

Nutrition facts for some common candy 

   Take this cool Trick or Treat Poll

 

About Sunithi Selvaraj, RD

Registered Dietitian with a sweet tooth and a passion for eating healthy ( quite a combo) Nutrition Geek, Healthy Nut.........

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