The Best & Worst Halloween Candy to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

The Best & Worst Halloween Candy to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

We already know that eating candy all the time isn’t exactly a health-conscious choice. Most are processed and filled with added sugars, giving it a pretty low nutrition-to-calorie ratio. Yet, every diet should leave room to fulfill once-in-a-while cravings, and Halloween certainly qualifies as a special occasion. If you find yourself yearning for some sweets this October, don’t feel guilty about having a piece of candy. Instead, reach for one of the healthier varieties below, and try to pass on the rest.

The Healthiest Halloween Candy

While these snacks certainly wouldn’t be considered superfoods, they pack a more powerful nutritional punch compared to other options. Here are a few varieties to try:

Peanut M&Ms

M&Ms already have an advantage over other candies: since there are lots of them in a pack, you’re more likely to take your time enjoying them as your snack, thereby fulfilling your craving with just one fun-size portion. If the colorful candies are what you’re craving, go for the peanut variety: the nuts have protein and fiber, which can help keep you fuller longer. And, a fun-size pack clocks in at just 90 calories.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Reese’s lovers, rejoice: the famous cups make the list of more nutritional candies, thanks to the protein-rich peanut butter. Instead of reaching for the double-cup package, consider purchasing a bag of the single-cup varieties. One cup has 110 calories and 2.5 grams of protein, so it won’t derail your healthy eating habits. Plus, you can distribute the rest to any trick-or-treaters who stop by, as Reese’s are a favorite among kids, too!

Snickers

While you might think that the sugary caramel would land Snickers bars on the “bad” list, this candy is actually lower in sugar and higher in protein than most other types. Once again, we have peanuts to thank for the added nutrition. And, if you choose a fun-size bar, you can indulge in your chocolatey snack with just 80 calories and 9 grams of sugar.

The Least Healthy Halloween Candy

While no food has to be considered completely off-limits, be mindful when snacking on the candies below, as they fall at the very bottom of the list when it comes to nutrition.

Candy Corn

With a whopping 22 grams of sugar in just 15 pieces, candy corn defines “empty calories.” Most candy lovers won’t be too dismayed, however, as survey data shows this Halloween staple is actually one of the most hated varieties of the season. If you’re hungry for something sweet, you could have two Reese’s or Snickers for the amount of sugar in one serving of candy corn.

Airheads

Heavily processed, loaded with artificial flavors and coloring, and exceptionally sugary, there are many reasons why dentists loathe these sticky, nutritionally void candies. Not only do they leave you hungry for more since they have no protein or fiber, but they’re also likely to stick to your enamel, leaving you prone to tooth decay. If you just can’t shake the urge to have one, be sure to rinse and brush afterward.

Smarties

Another sugar-rich snack with empty calories, Smarties have carbohydrates and sugar but lack any meaningful nutrients like fiber or protein. Although one roll is only 25 calories, you’re better off getting your sugar fix with something that has a little more substance.

No matter which Halloween candy is your favorite, the best way to enjoy an indulgence this time of year is to do so without feeling bad about it. Halloween only comes once a year, so snack mindfully and remember to fill up on lean protein, plenty of veggies, and fresh fruit during other meals to balance out your diet. That way, you’ll make sure your body is getting all of the nutrition it needs, and there will be plenty of leeway for a piece of candy here or there.

Those with specific dietary needs, for example, those with Diabetes or considered Pre-Diabetes, should consult with their physician on any foods to ensure their health limits.

5 Foods That Spike Blood Sugar Levels

5 Foods That Spike Blood Sugar Levels

For people with diabetes or pre-diabetes, making healthy dietary choices is an important aspect of disease management. In particular, patients should avoid foods that are known to spike blood sugar to keep their levels within a healthy range. Even for individuals who aren’t diabetic, limiting or avoiding these foods can help to prevent against serious health issues, including insulin resistance, obesity, and heart disease. Discover some of the worst culprits behind elevated blood sugar below.

White Grain Products

While limiting your consumption of grain products may have certain health benefits, you don’t have to skip rice and bread products altogether. Simply steer clear of white rice and bread, and opt for whole-grain varieties instead. In particular, eating white rice regularly has been associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. This could be a result of the food’s lack of fiber, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels. White bread, too, is linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It’s made from refined flour, which is digested too quickly and can therefore spike blood sugar.

Red Meat

Too much red meat increases the likelihood of developing diabetes, especially when it’s processed. Even just two slices of bacon or one hot dog eaten daily can increase a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 51%. Red meat has also been linked to higher levels of colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease. Researchers suspect that while the saturated fat found in red meat is one part of the problem, the high level of sodium, which can increase blood pressure and create insulin resistance, is also to blame.  

Fast Food

Fried, greasy foods may look appetizing, but they’re among the worst offenders on this list. Most varieties have soaring calorie, fat, and salt counts, all of which spike blood sugar. Salty fast food is particularly dangerous, as it can increase blood pressure. Because diabetes patients already face a higher risk of heart disease, controlling blood pressure is critically important to their health.

Packaged Snacks

Commercially prepared baked goods and other packaged snacks should be avoided, or at least eaten in moderation. Many of these options have harmful additives and are high in trans fats, which can impact your cholesterol and lead to inflammation. Snacking on whole foods, such as a handful of almonds, vegetable sticks, roasted chick peas, and hard-boiled eggs will deliver more nutritious benefits in between meals.

Whole-Fat Dairy

As mentioned above, saturated fat can lead to insulin resistance, or the body’s inability to use insulin for energy. When this happens, insulin builds up in the blood, leading to higher blood sugar levels. While not all dairy contributes to this issue, whole milk and other full-fat dairy products are particularly high in saturated fats. For this reason, diabetics should choose reduced or nonfat dairy products, including yogurts and cheeses, whenever possible.

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