Happy Halloween from Nutripol! With this sweet-filled holiday just around the corner, we're bringing you a Think About It on a few of the most popular treats. Different candies have different nutritional makeups that can be successfully integrated into any type of dietary plan, so we've put together a small list of Nutripol-endorsed treats for your Halloweekend! Besides, what better excuse to eat your favourite childhood candy?
Low Calorie: SweetTarts
These candies are exactly what their name implies -- sugar. They have zero grams of fat and zero grams of protein, and just eight pieces have 13 grams of sugar, or 26% of the FDA-daily recommended value. While this isn’t great from a nutritional standpoint, it does mean that SweetTarts have a fairly low energy density at 50 calories (or 2.5% of the FDA-daily recommended value) per eight pieces.
With that being said, eating pure sugar is certainly not advice that any seasoned health professional would give. As long as you are aware of this and take Halloween candy for what it is, you’ll be more than okay!
Low Fat: Skittles
Most of the sugar-based candies are low in fat, simply because it isn’t necessary to achieve the sweet taste that consumers are after. This doesn’t translate to a “healthy snack” by any means, but it’s something to be aware of if you require/prefer a lower fat diet.
A standard pack of Skittles contains only 2.5 grams of fat (just 4% of the FDA-daily recommended value) and has zero grams of protein. However, it has 46 grams of sugar (92% of the FDA-daily recommended value) and 250 calories, almost all of which can be considered “empty.”
The nutrition stats fare slightly better for Sour Skittles, which have 2.0 grams of fat, 200 calories per pack, and 36 grams of sugar. Clearly these numbers aren’t great, but it’s fun to live a little on Halloween! And if it truly bothers you, all of the Skittles flavours are available in smaller sizes.
If you’re looking for something with a bit more protein and/or fat to stabilise your blood sugar, anything with nuts is a decent option! One normal-sized Snickers bar has quite a lot of sugar, with 27 grams (54%) in every serving. Normally large amounts of glucose can spike your blood sugar levels, but this can be partially counteracted with the addition of protein or fat. In this case, the fact that each bar has 12 grams of fat (20%) and 250 calories (12.5%) can be a positive.
Alternatively, you could reach for the Snickers mini bars and dramatically cut down all of these numbers. One small size has just 43 calories, 2 grams of fat, and 4.5 grams of sugar. I personally hate Snickers, but if they’re your favourite you should enjoy them periodically! The mini ones taste just as good, and if you can limit yourself to just one or two you can get your sweet fix without wreaking havoc on your body.
Most Delicious: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups:
These were always my favourite candy to receive on Halloween night (I used to trade with my brother for them), and I would still reach for these over nearly any other sweet treat. Something about the ratio of chocolate to peanut butter is just right in the original-sized cups -- Hershey’s knows what they’re doing.
Like all of the other options, Reese’s cups have a pretty hefty dose of sugar. Each cup has 11 grams of sugar, or 22% of the FDA’s daily recommended value. Since Reese’s are made from peanut butter, which has a relatively high fat content, it's no surprise that each cup has 6 grams of fat (or about 10% of the FDA’s daily recommended value). However, like Snickers, this can actually be helpful in balancing out all of the sugar that comes along with it.
However, since fat has the most calories per gram out of all of the macronutrients, Reese’s are fairly calorie-dense at 110 calories per cup (5% of the FDA daily recommended value). This means next to nothing if you’re just enjoying one (or maybe two) on Halloween, but it means that this is not the candy to binge-eat in your bedroom!
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed nutritionist nor a registered dietician. The opinions expressed in this article are my own, and each individual is ultimately responsible for his/her dietary and nutrition practices. Please consult a physician before starting a new dietary program.