Halloween’s True Terror: Unwanted Candy Calories

By Drew Munhausen

With Halloween only a day away, there’s a good chance you’ve already purchased Halloween candy in anticipation of trick-or-treaters. If the candy is already purchased, it’s quite possible that you’ve already taste-tested a piece or two…or three.

The candy temptation will only be harder to resist once the kids return home with a bucket of full of some of your favorite bite-sized candy.

“If you just cannot resist having–or is it stealing?–a piece of your child’s Halloween candy haul, make sure to choose your favorite one,” said Sharon Smalling, RD, clinical dietitian specialist at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. “Otherwise, you might end up taking several different pieces providing more unwanted calories than you intended and you still will not really be satisfied.”

While the best option would be to avoid the candy altogether, realistically you’re probably going to grab a few pieces. Smalling recommends savoring those pieces.

“Try not chewing the candy and letting it dissolve in your mouth,” Smalling said. “It will last much longer than if you’ve chewed it quickly and it may be more satisfying.  When purchasing candy to give away, do not purchase your favorite. You’ll be less tempted to take a few for yourself.”

Smalling also suggested putting the candy away once Halloween is over. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ truly works in these scenarios. Take the candy to work or to events to share with people so that you aren’t keeping it at home for yourself.

Working Off the Extra Calories

If you’re going for an extra piece of candy, it’s easy to downplay how many calories are in a bite-size piece, or justify it to yourself by vowing to run an extra mile during your workout.

As a reality-check, the Nutrition Education Store has listed the amount of activity it takes to burn the calories from one little fun size serving of candy:

  • Fun size Kit Kat (70 calories): Walk your dog 30 minutes.
  • Fun size Peanut M&M’s (90 calories): 13 minutes of jogging.
  • Fun size Mike & Ike’s (50 calories): Water aerobics for 15 minutes.
  • Fun size Reese’s (110 calories): 16 minutes on the exercise bike.
  • Fun size Skittles (80 calories): Do yard work for 22 minutes.
  • Fun size Twix (80 calories): 28 minutes of vacuuming.

Blaine Schmidt, a human performance coach with Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute and Regional ISMI Director of Athlete Training and Health, has some suggestions of unconventional exercises that can easily be done to burn some extra calories.

  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator
  • Instead of trying to find the closest parking space to your destination, avoid the traffic of people and cars by parking a little farther away and walking
  • Break up long periods of sitting at work by walking for 5-15 minutes
  • If you have children, race them around the nearby playground or around your house

In addition, the experts at Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute have suggested some easy exercises that can be done at home as part of 2019’s new exercise guidelines.

For more information about nutrition programs offered at Memorial Hermann, please visit http://www.memorialhermann.org/services-specialties/nutrition-programs/

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