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Natural Awakenings Lehigh Valley

A Healthy Halloween? Yes, It’s Possible!

by Samantha Schmell

Young or old, everyone delights in finding their favorite snack at the bottom of a plastic pumpkin. However, as adults, we know that too much of the sweet stuff isn’t always in the best interests of our waistline or our health. But here’s the good news: Enjoying the spoils of the season is still possible, even as a grownup. In fact, by following a few easy guidelines, it’s possible to have the candy and eat it too.

Moderation is key

Halloween is the perfect time to indulge in sugary sweets as long as it’s in moderation. “We all know it’s not just the kids that enjoy the rewards of trick-or-treating,” says Stephanie Stackpole, RD, retail dietitian supervisor at ShopRite.

“Candy is fine as a treat once in a while,” says Stackpole. “But consuming large amounts can lead to weight gain in the long term.”

Avoid temptation with these tips

Stackpole suggests filling candy bowls with “healthier” candy options, such as mini-dark chocolate bars for their antioxidant powers, as well as snack-size peanut chocolates for their protein and fiber content. Low-fat candies, such as licorice and lollipops, are also better choices. “The pops take longer to eat so you’re more likely to have only one,” says Stackpole.

A balanced candy bowl

To balance the sweet treats with healthier options, throw some mini boxes of raisins, as well as single-serve portions of pretzels or popcorn, into the Halloween bag. Pudding pouches and squeezable applesauce containers are also wise choices that kids will enjoy. Single-serve packets of cocoa-dusted almonds are also a smart snacking option.

Some parents, especially those whose children have severe allergies or other health concerns, can choose to make their own candies or host candy craft parties instead of letting their kids go door-to-door, or these days, store-to-store.

“When you make the candy, you control the ingredients,” Stackpole says. “Homemade allows you to substitute dark chocolate for milk chocolate and experiment with less sugar in your recipes.”

And what about those miniature bars?

“It’s true that miniature candy bars have fewer calories and less sugar,” says Stackpole. “But if you don’t exercise self-control when you eat them, you’re negating the benefits of snack-size packaging.”

If all else fails, Stackpole suggests that parents that lack willpower should buy varieties they don’t enjoy. Of course, the kids will always bring something home that’s worth sampling, so the next best option is to keep Halloween loot in a closed container in the cupboard rather than an open dish on the counter.

“You can always freeze candy miniatures for long-term use. Crumbling one or two is perfect for yogurt or cupcake toppings. Frozen whole pieces can also be pulled out of the freezer and straight into the lunchbox until your stash runs out.”

Visit your local ShopRite dietitian for more Halloween treat suggestions that both kids and adults will love. For more information visit