"Halloween Shouldn’t Be Scary for Your Waistline"While the kids are out enjoying trick-or-treating, sitting around the candy bowl at home and avoiding temptation to snack can be difficult.  To have 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. 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 Club, Inc.® (Take Off Pounds Sensibly®), 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.

Consider this:

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 your meal plan, in moderation. If you really want something sweet, have it – but also consider healthier options that give you the same satisfaction from regular candy. Help your health by calorie budgeting for the treats. Split a sweet with a friend, push yourself a little harder during your workout, or cut back on something else in your diet for that day. By staying mindful of choices and planning ahead, Halloween candy cravings won’t be so spooky after all.

*Calorie counts and calories burned are estimated using www.calorieking.com .

Healthier Options Are Amazingly Satisfying

Frozen banana-chocolate treats
Place peeled, medium-ripe bananas on sticks and freeze them. Once they’re 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’re 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, and you can get creative by adding flavorful options. Ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa power, and cloves will provide delicious taste options for your popcorn balls.

Vegetable “candy corn”
Try a healthy twist on a Halloween staple. You’ll 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 Inc.® (Take Off Pounds Sensibly®) is the original weight-loss support and wellness education organization. Founded more than 65 years ago, TOPS is the only nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization of its kind. TOPS promotes successful weight management with a “Real People. Real Weight Loss.®” philosophy that combines support from others at weekly chapter meetings, healthy eating, regular exercise, and wellness information. TOPS has about 150,000 members – male and female, age seven and older – in thousands of chapters throughout the United States and Canada.

Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. Membership is affordable at just $28 per year in the U.S. and $32 per year in Canada, plus nominal chapter fees. To find a local chapter, view www.tops.org or call (800) 932-8677.