Don’t get tricked into eating too many treats

Halloween has arrived and candy is filling the shelves. Even if you don’t have kids in the house or if you aren’t planning on handing out treats on Halloween, it can still be a challenge to avoid the candy aisle’s alluring packages.

Where are you this year amidst the junk food madness?

Although it would be healthiest to stay away from all those treats, it is also not realistic for most of us. Here’s your guide for making the best choices at the beginning of the holiday season.

1. Know what you’re trying to do.

Are you trying to stay away from a particular ingredient, like high fructose corn syrup? Is choosing low-calorie items your main priority? Hard candies are often full of artificial ingredients and high fructose corn syrup, but they take longer to eat and usually contain zero grams of fat, compared with chocolate bars (which can be fairly high in calories and fat, even for the “mini” bars).

2. Portion-control it.

There are treats, and then there are Treats. Enjoy your candy in moderation. Full-size chocolate bars sometimes count as two serving sizes instead of one. That means that a mini bar is one serving size. Just because it is miniature in comparison to what we normally see at the stores, doesn’t mean that you should “compensate” for its size by eating two or four or six of them in one sitting.

3. Enjoy your favourites.

If you are planning on eating treats, you can still decrease the amount that you are eating by choosing to eat the ones you really want. Don’t fill up mindlessly on candy bars that you don’t care much for.

4. Make your own.

You might think that there’s nothing better than unwrapping mini chocolate bars, until you make your own little chocolate bars – complete with healthy fats and all-natural ingredients. Simply combine in a food processor about ¾ to 1 cup ground flax, 2.5 tbsp 100 per cent pure maple syrup, ¼ cup cocoa powder or raw cacao powder, a dash of vanilla extract, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Add 1 tbsp oil if necessary to soften the batter. When the mixture is well blended, roll the batter into 20 balls or shape into bars and keep refrigerated until ready to eat.

5. Enjoy treats for one night.

A holiday lasts for one day, not three weeks. Try not to get sucked into drawing out the event and letting yourself go candy crazy for days on end in anticipation of the big event. Enjoy the treats you want on the holiday itself, and eat healthy on the days leading up to it (and winding down afterwards).

By doing a bit of research on your favourite holiday treats, you can save yourself from munching on extra calories and consuming piles of unhealthy ingredients, and ensure that your lifestyle remains a (moderately) healthy one.

Sagan Morrow is a freelance writer and editor. Check out her health and wellness blog at www.livingintherealworld.net/healthy.

Published in Volume 65, Number 9 of The Uniter (October 28, 2010)

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