Let’s get real, we’ve all done it! You know…don’t you? It’s the old, “better stock up on candy in case I get lots of trick or treaters.” OR, “better get extra just in case I get more this year.” When really, we know we are buying extra just so we can go down memory lane with those little pieces of nostalgia we call Halloween candy. Yet, before you start unwrapping piece after piece of that sweet Halloween treat, you might want to ask yourself, “Is this really a treat or trick?” After all, starting on October 31st we do officially enter the “Holiday Weight Gain Season.” So are you really “treating” yourself or “tricking” yourself into gaining some unwanted weight?

The first trick of them all may just be that those mini candies tend to come without a nutrition label, leaving it to you to guestimate their calories, fat, sugar and more. The reality is most people tend to shy on the low side when it comes to guessing how many calories are in their food. They rationalize that it’s a small or “fun” sized treat, they must be just about calorie free and before they know it their desk is covered in wrappers and they’ve eaten more than a regular full-sized novelty. Don’t let that be you! There are many websites that will help you figure out just what you are popping in your mouth. They may be low calorie treats, but often they are sneaky-fatty-sugary tricks.

We all have that one thing in the candy bowl we just feel drawn to. It may be a peanut butter cup or maybe you actually like those mini bags of candy corn. Whatever it is, most people won’t make it scot-free without a piece or two of Halloween candy. That’s fine if it’s just a piece or two, but don’t be tricked. All those extra calories may be adding up and adding on to your waistline!

Let’s take the Butterfinger for example.  Say you eat four “fun-sized” treats in the course of a day; thinking it wasn’t too bad. Yet you really end up with a 400 calorie pile up.  According to www.butterfinger.com if you ate one original size bar you would have only wasted 270 calories instead of the 400!  Sounds like a Halloween trick doesn’t it?  Needless to say if you are good with self-control and can have just one treat and that is enough, then you may be okay. But, if you are the type that definitely can’t stop after one or two mini treats, you best steer clear of the candy bowl or just eat the full sized version. Or go ahead and eat the four, but remember it would take a 4 mile run to burn them off! At least with a full version you can burn that off in ½ a Zumba® class.

 

Another great example is peanut M&M’s. The “fun-sized” bag according to https://www.myfitnesspal.com comes in at 90 calories a bag. With many people thinking that these mini packs are about a quarter of a regular bag could have you fooled into eating four mini bags or 360 calories of candy coated chocolate covered peanuts, whereas the regular single serving bag comes in at about 280 calories. That’s almost 100 extra calories you might not even notice you are eating. Do that all seven days of the week just for October and that’s about a pound gained just in unnoticed calories. Or if you aren’t taking any calories into account, eating four mini bags a day for the 31 days of October could be over three pounds in this month alone.

 

It’s hard enough to keep up on all the calories in and out of our diets. Don’t get tricked this Halloween into thinking that little bites here or there don’t matter. OR if you know you want to indulge, cut something else out. If you want to eat fun sized Snickers after lunch (160 calories) try cutting calories somewhere else in your day or add in some extra focused physical activity to help burn it off.

 

If you haven’t stocked up on treats to hand out yet, think of real treats. Things that are fun or tasty that won’t bust your belt. Kids love temporary tattoos, bubbles, stickers, play-dough, fun glow rings and more. Or look for healthier “treats” like Halloween decorated packs of popcorn, pretzels, juice boxes and more. Even better are treats parents can pack in their kids’ lunch box and feel good about. AND…If you have leftovers you won’t feel as guilty about snacking on them either. Sure, they may not be totally healthy but most kids (and adults) don’t want apples for Halloween.

 

All in all, the candy is out there! It’s in the stores, it’s in waiting rooms, it’s in offices and it may even be in your home.  Now the choice is yours! Will you be tricked into the treats?  If so, make it a wise investment – try something that has some protein in it, like nuts. Look for those dark chocolate options that tend to have less sugar.  Also, make sure to limit your trips to the candy bowl, or before you know it your belly might start looking like a Halloween pumpkin.

 

Happy Halloween! Stay Safe, Have Fun and don’t get tricked by those treats!