Halloween Candy: A Dietitian's Guide
A long time ago, I placed (fine) candy in the “sometimes” or “rarely” food group. That group is reserved for scrumptious foods that have no nutritional value. They are served on holidays – personal (birthday), religious (Christmas) and civic (4th of July) – as well as at rare times when luck comes your way.
I suppose Halloween is a quasi religious holiday, being the time of the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos), and a special time in other faiths. But I could never see the point of giving kids a pillow case full of candy. To me, that is excessive and wasteful and it gives the wrong message. But, so far, I can’t get kids to agree. And so Halloween is what it is: Damage Control.
Halloween Candy Coming In
Generally, Halloween night is a free-for all. Everybody eats candy. And that might go on for another day, but sooner rather than later we get a grip and candy is rationed to one piece at lunch and another after school. Some is shared with family members who are too old to Trick-or-Treat. And eventually the pillow case is forgotten at the back of the closet, and the candy is tossed with the next decent cleaning. Some creative parents play the humanitarian card and donate the candy to the local Food Bank, while other wily parents talk the kids into freezing their booty to spread throughout the year.
Halloween Candy Going Out
The candy that you choose to distribute is another story. Year after year, I’d try to persuade my daughter to let me hand-out something else - pencils, stickers, glowsticks - even nickels - but she wouldn’t hear of being odd, and she wanted candy. But I held the purse strings, and so I gave out candy that did the least damage. Damage Control candy is low in calories and fat, and is served in small portions. Damage Control candy might look more like a toy, which makes it less likely to be eaten.
Join me in Halloween candy shopping using my Damage Control Halloween Candy List. The candies on the list have fewer than 100 calories per serving and might not be eaten at all!
- Lollipops: Consider Blow Pops (50 calories), Dum Dum Pops (51 calories), Ring Pops (wear, don’t eat)
- Gum: Chew over Chiclets (10 calories), Gum Balls (20 calories), Bubble Yum (25 calories), and others
- Chewy candies: Behold Skittles (43 calories) and jelly beans (41 calories)
- Hard candies: Check out Sweetarts (50 calories), Smarties (25 calories) and hard candies (24 calories)
- Powdered candy: Think about Pixy Sticks (60 calories), Pop Rocks (34 calories) and Fizzies Drink Tablets
- Sugar-free candy – your dentist will love you! There are sugar-free Twizzlers (33 calories each), jelly beans, lollipops, and more
- Candy that is more like a toy
Let’s hear it for wax bottles (20 calories), wax lips (15 calories), candy lipstick (20 calories), and candy buttons on paper tape (30 calories, excluding paper.)
How do you deal with the Halloween candy?