Food & Nutrition

14 Things Nutritionists Do on Halloween That You Don’t

Learn how top food experts make the idea of a healthy Halloween less scary.

They don’t get “fun-size” candy

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If it’s smaller, it’s healthier, right? Not exactly. Keeping giant bags of miniature candies around can lead to overeating; save them for trick-or-treaters, not for your pantry. “Get normal sizes, because the fun-size you have to buy in bulk,” says nutritionist Rania Batayneh, MPH, author of The One One One Diet. “You don’t think it adds up because they’re small, but they can add an extra 200 to 400 calories a day.” When you crave a candy bar, purchase a normal size one. Eat half, then stash the rest in the freezer for another time. This is the most popular Halloween candy in every state.

They avoid candy corn

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“There’s nothing good from candy corn—just don’t touch it,” says Brooke Alpert, RD, founder of B Nutritious, a New York City-based counseling practice. “At least a Snickers bar has nuts, which can slow the absorption of sugar down. With candy corn, you may as well be injecting sugar into your bloodstream.” Nutritionist Robert Ferguson, CN, author of Diet-Free for Life, avoids licorice with trans fats (though he loves the natural kind), and Batayneh says even though she wouldn’t completely exclude anything from her diet, she tries to avoid high-sugar candies, like mellowcreme pumpkins.

They watch for these three ingredients:

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“I let my kids keep all the candy they get—as long as it doesn’t have trans fatty acids in it,” says Ferguson. “As a parent, I’d avoid any foods made with three ingredients: partially hydrogenated oils, fractionated oils, and interesterified oils.” All three can be spotted on ingredient lists, and contain unhealthy fats that have been linked to conditions like heart disease and obesity. These healthy Halloween candy swaps won’t get your house egged.

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