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Anahite Afshar


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From a nutritional point of view, are there better candy choices than others?
At the risk of disappointing you, there is no such thing as "healthy" candy. Candy is made to taste good and that's it.

The reason they taste so good is obviously because of their high sugar content!

Unfortunately, we know that excessive sugar consumption is associated with heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, cancer and tooth decay (1).

This is why it is recommended to limit the amount of free sugar consumed per day to a maximum of 10% of total calories, and ideally to aim for less than 5%.

For a person who consumes an average of 2,000 calories per day, this is equivalent to a maximum of about 50 grams (about 12 teaspoons) and ideally less than about 25g (about 6 teaspoons) (2).

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So no candy this year?
Sweets such as candy have little place in a healthy daily diet. However, they can be eaten without guilt occasionally.

Halloween only comes once a year, so we're allowed to eat candy!

And as long as we're eating candy, we might as well eat the ones we like, without worrying about their nutritional value.

However, Halloween is not an excuse to go overboard. This is true for young and old alike. It's a good time to practice moderation.

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So here are some tips to help you enjoy Halloween in a balanced way.
For those who are giving out:

Wait until the last minute before buying candy to hand out to avoid being tempted by it in the days before Halloween.
If each year you end up with more candy in the house than you've given out, buy less to avoid leftovers.
Buy small gifts to hand out to supplement the candy: small toys, balls, stickers, pencils, fun stuff ...

For those who go trick-or-treating:

Eat a balanced meal or nutritious snack before you leave to avoid the temptation for kids (or older kids) to eat the candy on the road.
When bringing back candy, choose a reasonable container size that is age-appropriate.
Forget the car, walk around the neighborhoods with the kids, enjoy the scenery and costumes around you, try to visit as many houses as possible. It'll be a little exercise before the candy tasting.
Set limits for kids (and grown-ups). You don't want to eat all the candy all at once! Spread the fun out over the month of November and accompany the treats offered to the kids (or eaten by the older kids) with more nutritious foods.
Too much candy? Got a birthday to celebrate soon? Kill two birds with one stone by turning leftover candy into a piñata. The candy will be shared during the party.
And why not offer the surplus candy to the less fortunate? Offer it to your children, they will be delighted to do a good deed.

For those who celebrate at home :

Disguise nutritious snacks in a Halloween theme to offer to guests.
Decorate pumpkins and cook the flesh and seeds.
For the kids, limit sugary drinks (liquor and even 100% fruit juice), there will be enough sugar already! Instead, offer flavored waters, milk or themed smoothies (blood, toad slime, witch potion ...).
For adults, remember that alcoholic beverages, like candy, should be consumed in moderation!
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Heart and Stroke Foundation:

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Anahite Afshar, Dietitian-Nutritionist Plateau