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How to Make Healthy Choices with Halloween Treats & Leftovers

By Karen Kelly, R.D. | October 30, 2020


With the pandemic and the need for social distancing still in effect, Halloween celebrations for many of us will be a little different this year. What will remain the same is the abundance of candy and the temptation to overindulge in leftovers, especially with less trick-or-treating activities. Whether you’re safely handing out candy, the kids are bringing it in, or both, here are some tips to stay on track with your weight loss goals and avoid overconsumption of the tempting leftovers.


Buying Candy

When purchasing candy to hand out, buy candy you do NOT like.  This helps prevent the “one for you, one for me” temptation.   For me,  I don’t have the willpower to resist peanut butter cups, so I buy dum-dum lollipops and hand those out instead.  When you have a bowl of candy you are not tempted by, it is easier to not take a treat.  

Candy at Home

Okay, that trick works for handing OUT candy but what about all the treats your kids, friends or family may be bringing home? Depending on how well everyone did on their trick or treating adventure or how much candy friends and family have leftover, it may be helpful to have 2 containers - a smaller one for the candy to keep and snack on, and a larger one to give away. You can keep some of everyone’s favorites and donate all the  other treats. You may also have less trick or treaters this year, which means more leftovers for the donation bowl.

  • Check with your child’s dentist- many of them have buyback programs for kids’ candy.  
  • There are some great programs to send candy to the troops overseas: Operation Gratitude and Soldier’s Angels to name a couple. If your child is older this can be a great service opportunity to give back, maybe you can even get other families involved.  

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

For the candy that does stay in the house, make sure it is not kept on the counter for easy pickings. Put it in a cabinet where you won’t see it. If you are going to indulge - be selective and intentional, and try to take the emotion out of it. Don’t grab for the candy bowl when you are feeling stressed, anxious or bored, which can definitely be a bigger challenge this year. 

Choose Wisely

Not all candies are created equal. If you’re trying to keep your calories low, choose a lower calorie option. If protein is your main goal, choose a candy with nuts/nut butter, keeping your allergies in mind. Know the calorie count and choose the one that fits your journey.

  • Snickers Fun Size: 80 calories per bar
  • Sweet Tarts: 60 calories in 6 candies
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Cups: 105 calories per cup
  • Almond Joy: 80 calories per bar
  • Milky Way: 80 calories per bar
  • Tootsie Roll: 140 calories in 6 minis
  • M&Ms: 180 calories per 3-pack serving
  • Hershey's Chocolate Bar: 77 calories per fun size bar
  • Candy corn: 140 calories per 19-piece serving
  • Kit Kat Fun Size: 70 calories per serving
  • Whoppers Fun Size: 32 calories

Even the most disciplined, healthy eater will have a little treat on Halloween. Make sure you eat healthy meals on Halloween to keep the hunger at bay, and get moving!  Take those witches and goblins out to see the decorations and enjoy the extra steps that day.  Wishing you all a healthy, safe and Happy Halloween! 

Karen Kelly, RD, is a registered dietitian at New Jersey Bariatric Center, a medical & surgical weight loss center with offices in Springfield, Somerville, Hoboken, East Brunswick, Sparta and Totowa, New Jersey. She provides pre-operative and post-operative nutritional counseling to New Jersey Bariatric Center’s Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve, LAP-BAND (gastric band) and revision patients, in addition to dietary counseling for patients in our Medical Weight Loss program.
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