I love Halloween. As an “all foods fit” dietitian, a holiday that celebrates all things pumpkin, chocolate and candy is right up my alley. But did you know that Americans consume 3.4 pounds of candy over Halloween weekend?!1 While I believe in enjoying candy in moderation, it’s also important to be mindful of the amount of candy and added sugar you’re consuming – especially on a holiday where the numbers can really add up.
Here’s how it stacks up:
The average trick-or-treater consumes 3 cups of sugar on Halloween night alone!1 That’s 48 Tablespoons of sugar and 2,322 calories.2 For reference, the American Heart Association recommends 6-9 teaspoons of added sugar per day – meaning on Halloween, trick-or-treaters eat about 20 times the daily recommended amount! That’s not even counting the days after Halloween! And these trends are not just limited to those going door to door – nearly three-quarters of U.S. households pass out candy, and a majority choose their favorite candies to pass out. Additionally, 81% of parents also admit to eating their children’s candy.3
Here’s what you can do:
If you have kids who are trick-or-treating, are passing out candy yourself, or are one of the many who simply can’t resist those Halloween candy sales, you probably will have an excess of candy laying around. With a surplus of candy at your fingertips, it can be pretty hard to practice moderation. Try the following to help keep your daily candy – and added sugar – consumption within a healthy range.
1. Donate it!
Did you know that many organizations actually accept Halloween candy? Get rid of some of your candy and help others – it’s a double bonus. Ronald McDonald House has local chapters that accept candy to give to sick children who are receiving treatment. Organizations like Operation Gratitude and Soldiers’ Angels send candy to U.S. service members and first responders. You can even try going to a local soup kitchen or nursing home to pass out unopened candy. Chances are, it will definitely be appreciated.
2. Enjoy a small piece after a balanced meal.
Keeping with an “all foods fit” mentality, there’s certainly room for some added sugar after meals. To keep it balanced, make sure to continue to eat regular, meals that are filled with protein and fiber. After your meal, if you’re craving sweet, have one fun-size piece of candy. One fun-size Snickers bar has about 80 calories and 8 grams of sugar, making it the perfect after-meal treat.
3. Make your own treats for when sweet cravings kick!
If you know that there will be Halloween candy all over your house or your office, or if you feel like even having sweets at home will be difficult to resist, try making your own healthier treats to satisfy your cravings. These dark chocolate peanut butter truffles have 50 calories and just 1 gram of sugar per truffle, so if you feel like you can’t keep it to just one piece, two or three of these is a perfect option! I made the truffles with SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia Sweetener now available in a jar – perfect for baking! SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia Sweetener is made from stevia and 100% natural with nothing artificial. Where some stevia sweeteners can have a bitter aftertaste, SPLENDA® Naturals is sweet – with no calories or added flavors and no bitter aftertaste.
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles Recipe
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia Sweetener
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
- In a food processor, pulse or grind oats until they reach a flour-like consistency.
- In a bowl, mix together peanut butter, oat flour, SPLENDA® Naturals and vanilla until it forms a dough-like consistency.
- Form dough into 24 small balls and place on parchment paper. Freeze for about 20 minutes.
- Remove the peanut butter balls, and melt the dark chocolate in microwave for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.
- Dip the peanut butter balls into melted chocolate, using a fork to dip and cover with chocolate.
- Place back on parchment paper and in the freezer for another 20 minutes.
References about sugar on Halloween:
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Granulated Sugars
- "Dishing the Dirt on Halloween Candy Consumption," Forbes, Oct. 25, 2013
I have been compensated for my time by Heartland Food Products Group, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog with Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.
Sammi Haber is a New York City-based Registered Dietitian and founder of her private practice, Nutrition Works NY. Sammi received her Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics with a Clinical Nutrition concentration from New York University. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan. Sammi completed her one-year intensive dietetic internship at the James J. Peters Bronx VA Medical Center. She is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and the Greater New York Dietetic Association.