Halloween is what I consider the kick off to the upcoming holiday season and the perfect time to put together a game plan to help you stay on track this season and beyond. Typically the most difficult for those of us with a sweet tooth, Halloween is full of temptations and most all of them are detrimental to our health. It’s time to practice moderation and substitution right now while we are in the thick of the season.
While sugar is obviously one of the biggest issues with consuming mass quantities of holiday candy, we also need to be aware of the concentration of high fructose corn syrup combined with GMO’s. Industrially processed food is practically void of any nutrients and does nothing but provide empty calories, increasing your probability of developing diabetes and heart health issues. To stay on track, we need to have a variety of easy to grab options that provide whole, unprocessed foods that are rich in vitamins, fiber and antioxidants.
To this end, I have come up with a short list for Halloween of Eat This, Not That. Ready to change? Let’s go.
If you’re partial to Sour Patch Kids as many of us are and enjoy the touch of sour with the blend of sweet, let me give you the nutrition breakdown so you know what you’re getting into. The Halloween snack pack contains about 8 pieces that give you 75 calories, 0 g fat, and 13 grams of sugar. The first 3 ingredients on the label are varieties of sugar! That’ll put you on a fast track to weight gain and numerous health issues. Let’s leave the kids in the sour patch and, instead, try a half-dipped dark chocolate slice of clementine orange. You’re still going to get the sweet and sour mix, but you’ll also be able to take advantage of the antioxidant properties in dark chocolate combined with vitamin C of the orange. You’ll cut the calorie count more than half and the sugar count down to 5 grams.
What about the Halloween staple, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkin or ghost or whatever they’re selling this year. That pumpkin packs a punch: 90 calories, 5 grams of fat and 8 grams of sugar. This one has a little less sugar in it, which is great, but that is for only ONE piece! That’s crazy when you think about it. Keep in mind that for men, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 9 grams of sugar per day. For women, it’s even lower, 6 grams. You’ve decimated your daily sugar count with one pumpkin AND taken a loan on tomorrow’s grams as well! For a similar taste with far fewer potential side effects, why don’t you try a protein shake that combines a scoop of chocolate whey protein, a spoonful of organic peanut butter, a cup of almond milk and a cup of ice for a smooth, tasty treat. This way, you’ll be gaining a great source of protein for the day, and feel full from the nutrition all while avoiding the extra sugar your body does not need.
For my final suggestion for a replacement for a Halloween candy replacement, let’s take a look at Junior Mints. A perfect combination of chocolate and mint, the snack size of these easy-to-pop candies give you the equivalent sugar count in 3 Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies! With 76. 5 calories, 1.35 grams of fat and 14.4 grams of sugar, these tasty treats are not doing you and your health any good. If you’ve got a craving for mint, there are plenty of recipes online that should help you satisfy this craving. When you get a chance, check out the Peppermint Patty smoothie – delicious!
Let’s be honest, you’re going to be surrounded with sugary options from now until the new year and it’s up to you to fill your home with alternatives so that you’re not tempted. Check out the suggestions above for a jump-start on your alternate options.