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How to Have a Healthier Halloween

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It’s practically impossible to avoid candy in the days that flank Halloween. In fact, candy sales for the holiday can reach upwards of $2 billion. So don’t fear the indulgence. But rather factor it into your nutrition goals. Start by following the below advice from Amanda Carlson-Phillips, vice president of nutrition and research at Athlete’s Performance, who tackled three common Halloween-turned-healthy questions.

Q: I hate giving kids candy. Any advice on healthy alternatives?

A: You can’t go wrong with fruit or even more practical dried fruit. Dried fruits like cherries, blueberries, and mango offer a more nutrient-packed treat. Another option is to offer a snack mix with good-for-you-ingredients such as nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate chips. Giving solid dark chocolate, which offers additional antioxidant properties, is also a great option. For more healthy treat options, read "7 Healthier Treats for Halloween."

Q: Are there specific candies or ingredients that people should avoid?

A: Candy is candy. Eat what you like as long as it fits into the 10 percent rule. Your load of candy shouldn’t contain more than 10 percent of your daily calories. Some candy has more calories from fat—a peanut butter cup will have more than a Jolly Rancher (90 calories to 23 calories), for example. Read "Don't Be Tricked by Treats" for more candy calorie comparisons. So be aware of the overall calories you’re consuming and realize that you can eat a whole lot more Jolly Ranchers than peanut butter cups. If you’re consuming a total of 1,800 calories per day, then no more than 180 calories should come from candy. However a five percent rule would be even better.

Q: Is there a better time of day to eat a piece or two of candy?

A: The sugars are better to eat in the two hours after a workout. Doing so will allow the sugars to go toward helping your muscles recover. If you aren’t going to hit the gym, then eat candy earlier in the day when you're more active. The thought is to consume more calories around the times when you need the energy. Once you've had your fill, read "What to Do With Your Leftover Halloween Candy."

Tags: Food, Home, Family, Health