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Halloween Survival Guide

They say knowledge is power. Well, Campers, it is time to get knowledgeable on the worst type of candies coming your way overDark Chocolate Picture Halloween, what you should eat instead, and great “Halloween Survival” tips! Did you know that the average American eats 24 pounds of candy a year? Looking for a good scare? Just check out these statistics:

  • Three miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups have more sugar than a glazed doughnut.
  • Half a pack of Skittles has more sugar than a scoop of Haagen-Dazs Cookies and Cream Ice Cream.
  • Nine Twizzlers carry as many calories as a Wendy’s Double Stack Burger.

Pretty scary, right? Halloween is NO TIME TO LET DOWN YOUR GUARD, Campers! Think about this… you let go over Halloween, then it will be easy to let go over Thanksgiving, then Christmas or  Hanukkah, and into the New Year. By then skinny jeans will just be a memory…

Arm yourself with some knowledge! Here are the worst candies… followed by our survival tips!

Butterfinger Bar (fun size bar)
100 calories
4 g fat (2 g saturated)
10 g sugars

Not so fun, actually. And Butterfinger is the worst offender—there’s no quicker way to swallow 100 calories.

If you must have chocolate… eat this.
3 Musketeers (fun size bar)
63 calories
2 g fat (1.5 g saturated)
10 g sugars
(Although we would truly prefer that you have a few squares of dark chocolate!)

Brach’s Airheads (3 pieces)
140 calories
1.5 g fat (1 g saturated)
19 g sugars

Here’s the basic formula for an Airhead: Sugar and filler carbohydrates, artificial colors and flavors, and partially hydrogenated oils—a source of trans fat.

A better option: (at least these are slow to dissolve and have no hydrogenated oils)
Spangler Dum Dum Pops (3 pops)
77 calories
0 g fat
10.5 g sugars


Twix Miniatures (3 pieces)
150 calories
8 g fat (6 g saturated)
15 g sugars
Each one of these bite-sized candies carries 10 percent of the saturated fat you should consume in an entire day. Switch to Tootsie Rolls and you’ll cut your calories by more than half and trim your total fat intake by a whopping 81 percent.

Tootsie Roll (3 pieces)
70 calories
1.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated)
9.5 g sugars

Brach’s Milk Maid Caramels (4 pieces)
160 calories
4.5 g fat (3.5 g saturated)
16 g sugars
Whey and butter fat does not equal made from Milk, Brach’s! 90 percent of the fat is saturated. That’s bad news for your heart.

Try these instead:
Now and Later (4 pieces)
53 calories
0.5 g fat (0 g saturated)
10 g sugars

Reese’s Pumpkin
170 calories
10 g fat (3 g saturated)
16 g sugars
This candy has almost two-thirds more calories than a regular Reese’s peanut butter cup! If you have to have it, grab 2 of the bite sized instead.

Reese’s Bite Size Peanut Butter Cups (2 pieces)
72 calories
4 g fat (3 g saturated)
6 g sugars

How to Survive Halloween

Toss the candy bowl. Instead of simply relocating the bowl to another table, limit the potential for mindless munching by keeping the candy bagged and in the cupboard.

Consume drinks before treats. Drinking 16 ounces of water before a meal fills the stomach, quells hunger, and helps you lose weight, according to a study presented at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. Use this strategy to help tamp your candy cravings. Just don’t substitute a sugary beverage for the water or this strategy will backfire: A can of soda has more sugar than two Hershey’s Take 5 bars.

Work out on Halloween morning. Lifting weights reduces levels of blood sugar by 15 percent for more than 12 hours after you’ve left the gym, according to research from Syracuse University. Why does that matter? Some of the sugar you consume will stay in your blood stream, providing energy to your cells, instead of staking it’s claim in your stomach.

Switch to dark chocolate. Not the best for calories, but at least dark chocolate has health benefits! Flavonoids in the cocoa help keep your arteries soft, decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease.  Keep a bar on hand to munch small pieces of any time you have a craving. Look for those bars with at least 60% cocoa.

Chew gum. No really, chew gum. Sort through any trick-or-treat bag and you’ll undoubtedly discover a handful of Super or Dubble Bubble. That is a better choice than the chocolate candy!  The chewing suppresses cravings, and each piece has only about 15 calories.  Or go for our favorite sugar free gums like Extra Sugar Free or Trident with Xylitol.

Don’t hand out your favorite candy. Duh. This should really be a no-brainer, Campers. If your favorite candy is Milk Duds, and you’re handing out Milk Duds all night, doesn’t it seem likely that you’re going to wind up with a pound of chocolate and caramel in your stomach by night’s end? Of course! Choose something less tempting.

Keep the candy-calorie load to 400. The fewer calories you take in during candy season, the better off you’ll be heading into turkey season. So if you worry that you risk overindulgence, set a caloric limit and hold yourself to it. Four hundred is a good number—indulgent yet not overly destructive.

Don’t skip dinner. A healthy dinner will take the edge off your candy craving. What you want is a meal rich with fiber and lean protein—think chicken breast with vegetables.

Take it outside. The worst thing you can do on Halloween night, after most of the trick-or-treaters have cleared off the street, is set your candy bowl by the door where you can grab a handful every day on your way out the door. Munching on 300 extra candy calories a day will add a pound of flab to your frame in less than two weeks. Instead, set the bowl on the porch before you go to bed. The leftover candy will be gone by morning, guaranteed.

Remember: Halloween is a one-day event. A study in the journal of Nature Neuroscience found that eating junk food doesn’t just satisfy cravings—it creates them. That’s right; junk food is addictive. Limit your sugar splurging to October 31. If you start a week early, you’re going to have a serious candy habit to break after Halloween.

Sources: David Zinczenko

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