For most of us, Halloween is synonymous with massive consumption of sugar and orange food colouring. Candy corn, anyone? Thirty-nine grams of these little cavity-kernels contains 28 grams of sugar and 36 grams of carbohydrates. Refined sugar belongs in the category of "white death" that all simple carbohydrates inhabit -- eating too many of them has been directly linked to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, bone loss, tooth decay and even mood swings and hypertension, among other things. However, you can't be expected to substitute your favourite candy bar with an apple on a holiday that practically demands your participation in this candy orgy. So what's a Skinny Chick to do? Here are some tips that will keep you from blasting off on a sugar high that will have your dentist rubbing his hands together in evil glee.
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1. Go for small sweets. Typical shell-outs with less than 50 calories are a mini 3 Musketeers bar, Chuppa Chups Lollipop, a roll of Pez Candy, one mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cup or one Kraft caramel, a mini Hershey's Milk Chocolate or Kit Kat bar, a mini Snickers or Butterfinger, a strawberry-flavoured Twizzler. FYI, the 'fun size' of most popular candy bars has more than double the calorie count of a mini! And beware of those Cadbury 'Screme' Eggs, which cost you a frightening 170 calories each!
2. Add fiber to your favourites
Of course, the apple in the classic candy apple is a good source of fiber and vitamin C, but how about cereal squares made with a couple of spoonfuls of all-bran? That perennial fall favourite, pumpkin is also a good source of fiber and vitamin A and its smooth, sweet flavour is terrific in cookies, dessert loaves, tarts and even the roasted seeds make a tasty Halloween snack.
Popcorn makes a great low-calorie, high-fiber treat for both kids and adults!
3. Harness the power of pre-packaged portion control
Finally, brand marketing managers are catching on to the fact that consumers want some better choices in the grocery store without feeling deprived, and are packaging both sweet and savoury snacks in handy 100-calorie portions. You'll find everything from Pringles to Oreos to Turkey Jerky in these snack pack sizes - the advantage is that the indulgence is controlled. Just remember that the small package isn't a license to eat 10 at a time!
4. Dark is delicious
Dark chocolate -- that is, anything with 70% or more cocoa content -- can be an acquired taste for those who've known nothing but milk chocolate with added sugar all their lives. Once you've experienced the smooth richness just one ounce of decadent dark chocolate provides, with its anti-oxidant and cholesterol-lowering benefits to boot, you'll be hooked. Just one small piece of a premium brand can satisfy your sweet tooth and elevate your mood a whole lot sooner, with a lot less damaging fat and additives.
Halloween is as much an excuse for adults to have a party these days as it is for kids, yet anyone who is trying to watch calories is probably already getting anxious about December's holiday feasting. It is possible to be festive without falling off the wagon! I don't advocate the eat-tonight-starve-tomorrow mentality anyway -- if you really want a treat, enjoy a small portion of the exact thing you're craving.
Otherwise you're bound to eat twice as much of whatever else is at hand, and though the substitute may technically be "healthier," you'll still feel unsatisfied, not to mention miserable. If you are the social host, though, that means you are in control. Remember, there are healthier ways to make delicious party foods -- check out my recipes for Santorini Lemon-Feta Dip and Whole Wheat Pita chips, Fire-Roasted Salsa Verde with Skinny Chips, Ole Guacamole and low-fat, low-sugar pumpkin bread, not to mention my Espresso Martini, Mojito Flaquito, Pomelo Martini and Skinny Pomegranate Bellinis! You'll find all these recipes and many more in my books, "Skinny Chicks Don't Eat Salads" and "Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food."