A little candy at Halloween is just dandy
'You let your kids eat Halloween candy? Aren't you a nutrition specialist?" my friend teased me the other day. Yes, we'll go trick-or-treating, and yes, they will be able to enjoy their treats, although not all in one sitting. Candy has a nice lo...
'You let your kids eat Halloween candy? Aren't you a nutrition specialist?" my friend teased me the other day.
Yes, we'll go trick-or-treating, and yes, they will be able to enjoy their treats, although not all in one sitting. Candy has a nice long shelf life.
It won't spoil if it's left unattended for days or weeks.
Americans will spend more than $5 billion on Halloween merchandise according to estimates from the National Retail Federation. The average person spends $18 on Halloween candy.
Enjoying candy often inspires guilt; however, if you're among the guilty, cut yourself a little slack. All types of food can fit into a healthful diet, even the "sweet treats" that aren't necessarily chock-full of nutrients. We all get some "discretionary calories."
Enjoying a little candy may have some health benefits. Harvard researchers studied the relationship between candy consumption and lifespan among male alumni who were undergraduates between 1916 and 1950. They took age, diet, physical activity and smoking habits into account as they studied the data.
Drum roll, please: Eating some candy was linked with living longer. Those who ate 1.5 ounces of candy one to three times a month lived about a year longer than those who skipped the candy jar.
Perhaps the antioxidant compounds in dark chocolate helped protect them from heart disease or cancer. Maybe eating candy lowered their stress levels through some complex changes in their brain chemistry.
The scientists encouraged future research. They probably enjoyed a candy bar when the results came in, too.
These results, however, aren't a license to grab a handful of candy every time you pass the bowl of leftover Halloween treats. Note the effective amount was eaten "per month," not "per day."
This Halloween, consider providing a variety of treats for the goblins ringing your doorbell, including some nonfood options, too. Kids enjoy novelty pencils and erasers, temporary tattoos and stickers.
If you want to add some tasty nutrient-rich foods to kids' treat containers, how about granola bars, 100 percent juice boxes, 100-calorie snack packets or mini-boxes of cereal?
Consider these Halloween tips:
- Provide a healthy snack or meal before your kids hit the trick-or-treat trail.
- Be sure their costumes fit properly to help prevent tripping. Add some reflective tape, so they can be seen. Consider providing a flashlight, too.
- Inspect their loot when they return. Small hard candies and novelty toys can be choking hazards
for young children. A little candy at Halloween is just dandy Julie Garden-Robinson 20071024