TOPS: Holiday need not be scary for the waistline
MILWAUKEE, WI —While the kids are out trick-or-treating, sitting around the candy bowl at home and avoiding temptation to snack can be difficult, said TOPS Club. To have a Halloween with less guilt, indulge in a few sweets that aren’t as “sinful” as the traditional favorites, and see if the lure of the real thing is truly worth it.
TOPS, the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, offers guidance to a healthier Halloween that is still fun for all.
Treat-sized candy can give the impression that “just a little bit won’t hurt,” but when the facts are laid out, there is nothing fun about these “fun-sized” bites.
—1 serving (1/5 of an 8-oz. package) of candy corn = 150 calories* = 42 minutes of walking.
—2 Fun Size Snickers bars = 160 calories = 18 minutes of jogging.
—1 2-oz. package of Skittles = 250 calories = 38 minutes of cycling.
Part of TOPS’ philosophy is that all foods can fit in a meal plan, in moderation. For anyone really wanting something sweet, have it — but also consider healthier options that give the same satisfaction.
Calorie budgeting for treats. Split a sweet with a friend, push a little harder during a workout, or cut back on something else in that day’s diet. By staying mindful of choices and planning ahead, Halloween candy cravings won’t be so spooky after all.
Healthier Options Can be Satisfying
Frozen banana-chocolate treats: Place peeled, medium-ripe bananas on sticks and freeze them. Once frozen, drizzle with a little melted dark chocolate and serve. According to the Cleveland Clinic, dark chocolate contains flavanols that may provide antioxidant qualities and have potential influence on vascular health.
Crispy rice treats: Modify the classic recipe for a healthier version using whole grain brown rice cereal, honey or brown rice syrup for substitutions. The brown rice syrup has a lower glycemic index than high fructose corn syrup marshmallows but will stay make the treats sweet.
Honey popcorn balls: Popcorn balls are a Halloween favorite, but they are commonly loaded with salt and high in sugar. They can be made healthier when prepared at home with just air-popped popcorn, honey and a bit of salt. The popcorn provides fiber. Get creative by adding flavorful options such as ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa power and cloves.
Vegetable candy corn: For a healthy twist on a Halloween staple use need toothpicks, orange and yellow bell peppers and cauliflower florets. Simply cut the vegetables and layer in the colors of traditional candy corn.
TOPS Club was founded more than 65 years ago and offers weight management with a “Real People. Real Weight Loss.” Philosophy. It combines support from others at weekly chapter meetings, healthy eating, regular exercise, and wellness information. TOPS has approximately 150,000 members in thousands of chapters throughout the United States and Canada.
Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting for free. Membership is $28 per year, plus nominal chapter fees. To find a local chapter, view www.tops.org or call 800-932-8677.
*Calorie counts and calories burned are estimated using www.calorieking.com.