Americans purchase nearly 600 million pounds of candy for Halloween. Having all of it in your stomach may seem like a good idea Oct. 31, but morning-after guilt is an ugly—and frankly painful—thing. Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, an NYC-based registered dietitian, bestselling author and founder of The F-Factor Diet, offered tricks to having a healthy Halloween and treating a candy hangover.
Go Hard or Go Home
You can pop a mini Snickers bar into the mouth and be done with it in three seconds flat. But hard candies, like a lollipop, can be savored longer, said Zuckerbrot. Taking more time to indulge can ward off a binge. But Zuckerbrot warned not to be a total sucker. “Not all hard candy is created equal.” A Charms caramel apple lollipop may only be 70 calories and a half gram of fat but it has 10 grams of added sugar, which equates to more than two teaspoons. Opt for a single Jolly Rancher. “It will only set you back 23 calories and has just under one teaspoon of added sugar.”
If you’re craving something softer, there are tricks to treating yourself. Zuckerbrot suggested swapping Skinny Cow Heavenly Crisp (110 calories, 6 grams of fat) for Butterfingers (275 calories, 11 grams of fat in a 2.1oz bar) and Kit Kats (218 calories, 11 grams of fat in a 1.5oz bar). Heavenly Crisp flavors include milk chocolate and peanut butter, allowing you to indulge without the bulge. For something sticky, reach for Laffy Taffy over Airheads. A trio of Laffy Taffy net you 30 calories and 4.2 grams of sugar whereas a single Airhead is 45 calories and 6 grams of sugar.
Beware of Fun Size
Fun-sized candies look cute and harmless but “people often underestimate how many carbs, calories and fat they actually are [consuming] and fail to notice how many they have eaten.” First, a reality check: Three fun-sized bars typically equal a regular sized bar. “It’s easy to pop three fun-sized [candies] in your mouth without thinking twice about it, whereas a full bar seems like more and people eat more mindfully.” To prevent yourself from overindulging, Zuckerbrot suggested keeping candy wrappers in front of you rather than throwing them away. A Cornell study agreed—it found that people will eat less when there’s visual evidence of how much they have already consumed.
If You Screwed Up
If you had a bit of an overly Happy Halloween, Zuckerbrot advised to put it behind you and get back to your normal routine with a breakfast that combines fiber and protein. “Fiber and protein digest slowly, which steadies blood sugar levels while stimulating your metabolism with excess sugar your body has stored.” One of Zuckerbrot’s favorite breakfasts includes non-fat Greek yogurt, berries and a high-fiber cereal. Flush excess sugar out of your system by drinking 8-12 cups of water throughout the day and keep moving. “Take an extra 10-minute walk in the morning, sneak in a job during the evening. You will feel energized and healthy as your body fights off the extra sugar you consumed.” Endorphin highs trump sugar rushes every time (or at least on Nov. 1).