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Spooky and Guilt-Free: Unmasking a Healthier Halloween

Healthy Halloween Options

Candy, sweets and seasonal treats - it's officially dessert season, and you may be starting to think about how you'll stay on track with your nutrition goals this year. While there's nothing wrong with a little indulgence, it can be overwhelming when the kids bring home their overflowing bags of candy.

"We're coming up on several months of holidays and it's so fun to celebrate with our favorite candy and treats," says Kristin Kirkpatrick, M.S., registered dietitian and Quest endorser. "But there can be too much of a good thing, so it's important to take some proactive steps to stay on track while also enjoying yourself."

Kirkpatrick is dishing out her tips on how to make this year's trick-or-treat season festive while sticking with healthy behaviors when it comes to candy and sweets.

1. Watch out for "snack-sized" portions.

A "fun-sized" or "snack-sized" piece of candy may seem harmless, but a common misconception is that this smaller candy is healthy for you, according to Kirkpatrick. However, even a snack-sized candy bar is high in sugar. And because they're small, you may be tempted to eat several pieces, sometimes even more than a standard-sized serving. Instead, be mindful. Keep track of how many snack-sized treats you eat to ensure you're not overindulging.

2. Opt for smart swaps.

Choosing a candy option that has more protein and isn't packed with sugar and net carbs, such as the Quest Chocolatey Coated Peanut Candies, can allow you to stick to your nutrition goals while still enjoying a sweet treat. With 10 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar per serving, this treat delivers the crunch, sweetness and might help "scare" away the candy cravings you might experience during Halloween. If you prefer traditional candy, choose a kind that has a little fiber (such as nut-based candy). This can help fill you up quicker, meaning you may eat less overall.

You can also stock up on healthier options for snacks and treats for your kids - and yourself. For example, you can find snack servings of popcorn, pretzels, cheddar crackers, trail mix and dried fruit.

3. Fuel up before trick-or-treating.

Before you head out the door for a night of spooky fun and candy hunting, be sure to serve your family a nutritious, balanced meal with protein and fiber. This can help your kids feel full and energized and may prevent them from overindulging on sweets later in the night.

4. Share your sweets with others.

After a long night of trick-or-treating, sit down with your kids and help them go through their stash. Have them pick out a few of their favorite candies, then talk to them about the benefits of sharing and allow them the opportunity to give to others. Ask your local food pantry or shelter to see if they are accepting Halloween candy. This can help your family make healthy choices after Halloween while also donating to a good cause.

If you're not able to donate the treats, consider freezing it for later or using it for baking during the holiday season.

Consider these tips to make managing Halloween candy in your house a little easier this year. And for more sweet swaps, check out

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