A rundown of Halloween candy favorites

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. 

By Cathleen Kronemer

All Hallow’s Eve has finally arrived, long-awaited by every child in your neighborhood.  While the little ones have been carefully planning each important detail of their costumes, have you been planning for just the right treat to hand out to those adorable goblins when the doorbell rings? As it turns out, from a purely nutritional standpoint, all candy is not created equally. With just a little bit of research, you can feel good about what you are offering up this Halloween…and keep the neighborhood parents as happy as the children.

The choice between Skittles and peanut M&M’s has always been a tough one in our family, because we have two chocolate lovers and two decidedly non-chocolate fans.  While a snack-size bag of colorful Skittles delivers a mere 61 calories as compared to its equally colorful chocolate counterpart, peanut M&M’s have a lower glycemic index. This means that the sugar contained in the candy will be released more slowly into the bloodstream, leaving you satisfied longer.  The insulin spike created by the sugary Skittles will only lead to more cravings within a very short span of time.

Kit Kat and Twix bars often compete for the same audience; while neither is a terrific option, it is interesting to note that Twix contains 3 times the amount of sodium, 90 mg in three fun-sized pieces, as compared to the same serving of Kit Kat bars.

When comparing Butterfinger and York Peppermint Patties, 2 of my secret favorites, the mint emerges as the victor. 2 fun-sized Butterfinger candies deliver 200 calories and 8 grams of fat, while 3 miniature York patties only contain 150 calories and 3 grams of fat, plus boast the added benefits of dark chocolate.

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Probably the two most highly-coveted handouts on this holiday are Snicker’s bars and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  Snicker’s bars contain less overall fat, a lower amount of saturated fat, and 10 fewer calories per serving than Reese’s. However, the peanut butter cups do deliver a bit more protein in a side-by-side comparison of fun-sized pieces.

Let’s face it: this is a treat-oriented holiday, and way you look at it.  The best fun-sized piece of advice I can offer? Resist the temptation to buy any candy which you personally find addicting.  That way, if you have leftovers once the trick-or-treaters have stopped coming to the door, you will not have any difficulty giving them away to your local food pantry. That sort of willpower is a treat your body will appreciate!