What to Do With Your Leftover Halloween Candy
With Halloween in the rearview, you can expect to see peanut butter cups, skittles, and candy corn lingering everywhere you turn—around the house, office, car—until the next holiday, which of course brings with it more calories than any other time of year. So what’s a smart but wavering eater to do?
Here’s a secret: The best time to eat Halloween candy is in the two-hour period after exercise. We’re not saying it’s the best choice—far from it—but since your body is busy replenishing carbohydrate stores at this time, if you inhale a traditional treat like candy corn after a hard workout, your body will use the carbs more efficiently to replace lost nutrients and help you recover from exercise, rather than storing it as fat.
In fact, if you compare, say, candy corn to a typical sports drink or ready-to-drink protein shake, you’ll find that they both contain similar amounts of sodium—about 110-115mg sodium for an 8-ounce sports drink or one serving of candy corn (22 pieces). Reality check: Look closely at the nutrition labels. Candy corn has more calories and carbs, plus it lacks protein, a key to building muscle. You could grab a few mini Snicker bars from your Halloween stash, but they won’t provide nearly as much protein as a typical shake, and they’re loaded with fat.
Bottom line: We understand that you’re going to be tempted by treats, and it’s OK to satisfy your sweet tooth now and then, but you can do so strategically. Just control your portion sizes and eat it after your workout.
Post-workout nutrition is an important habit, and if it takes candy to help you establish that habit, so be it. Just don’t make candy corn your default post-workout meal. It lacks important nutrients, and it’s easy to overindulge on sweet candy so the calories will add up—and fast. Plus, it may upset your stomach. Try to stick with whole foods, or grab a ready-to-drink shake. Eat before you train, as well, to boost energy levels and stay sharp throughout your workout.
About The Author
Danielle LaFata – As a Performance Nutrionist at Athletes' Performance in Phoenix, Arizona, Danielle LaFata delivers nutritional counseling and education to both athletes and the general population.