Choose Your (Stolen) Treats Wisely
Of course you're not the kind of parent who raids the kids' Halloween candy after they've gone to bed. Me either.
But just in case you're tempted....The helpful folks at AOL Health have compiled a quiz that lets you test your knowledge of the calorie, fat and sugar content of some of the items you'll find in that plastic pumpkin or pillowcase. (Just think: every Butterfinger you pilfer is one less your kids will eat. So you're really doing them a favor, right?)
There are some surprises here. For instance, at 130 calories and 5 grams of fat, according to the quiz, a serving of Flipz Milk Chocolate Covered Pretzels trumps Raisinets (190 calories and 8 grams of fat). And four marshmallow-Peep-style pumpkins (100 calories, 14 grams of sugar) is clearly a better option, nutritionally speaking, than 22 pieces of candy corn (140 calories, 28 grams of sugar), though both are free of fat.
But sometimes the choices aren't so clear cut. A Hershey's bar may well have fewer calories than a 3 Musketeers bar (230 versus 260), but it's got more fat (13 grams versus 8 grams). Portion size can be tricky, too: Do 16 Junior Mints (170 calories, 3 grams of fat) deliver the same pleasure as one York Peppermint Pattie (140 calories, 2.5 grams of fat)? And while a pack of SweeTarts (150 calories) surely is less fattening than a pack of Starburst (250 calories, 5 grams of fat) and has no fat at all, who wants to eat SweeTarts?
As this article in yesterday's New York Times discusses, counting calories is back in vogue, and restaurants' providing customers with information their offerings' calorie content seem to be influencing people's dining habits.
By this time next year, as I wrote in my Lean & Fit nutrition newsletter a few weeks ago, many candies -- all of those marketed by Mars, Inc., including Snickers, Milky Way, and Twix, for example -- will have nutrition data posted prominently on the front of the wrappers. So there'll be no pretending not to know that a pack of Skittles, fruit-filled as it looks, has more calories than a pack of M&Ms (250 versus 210). Only time will tell whether such efforts will make a difference in our snacking habits. (To subscribe to Lean & Fit, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com and search for "newsletters.")
What sweet treat do you crave most this Halloween? Do you pay attention to calorie counts when you're rummaging through your kids' trick-or-treat loot? And is indulging that craving worth the calories?
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