When Fun-Sized becomes a gateway to Oversized.
Many of us approach the Fall and Winter holiday season (two full months) with the mindset that it’s the one time of year we have no choice but to let our health consciousness slide. Because, life. With so many details to worry about, it’s easy to let nutrition slide.
Halloween basically leads us to the gluttony of a buttery potatoes and pie Thanksgiving, and the second we undo our top pants button, we’re ushered into an entire month that begins with cookie exchanges, continues with corporate holiday parties and family dinners, and ends up with a champagne toast at the stroke of midnight. And then… surprise! You enter the New Year bloated and tired, your pants don’t button as easily as you remember, and you’re vying for the last spot in the gym parking lot like your life depends on it.
Although the holiday slide may feel inevitable, it really isn’t. You that you can survive – end enjoy! – the holidays without completely derailing. With advance planning and wise choices, you can eat delicious food, allow yourself moderate splurges, and come out of the holidays still feeling like the you that everyone knows and loves.
Let’s start with Halloween.
While few of us adults would knowingly buy and eat a full candy bar as an after-dinner snack, how hard is it to resist stealing those cute mini KitKats from our kids’ candy stash when they’re not looking? I mean, they’re KitKats, just wafers covered in chocolate.
So maybe you’re watching This is Us, and you really deserve a little treat from the treasure bag. Or your sons are being really challenging while you’re quizzing them for their science tests. Or maybe no reason at all except that candy pairs beautifully with a glass of dinner-prep Cabernet. It’s not real “CANDY” candy when it’s just a little taste. Plus, indulging in a little now will stop you from feeling deprived, missing the joy of Halloween, and buying a box in bulk to eat in the car the next time you’re at Costco. Makes perfect, rational sense, amiright?!?
But then you look at the tiny, crinkly wrapper debris and notice that in just two scenes, you’ve eaten five (5) minis, and the jig is up. Why? Because five (5) deceptively eensy, weensy, itty, bitty, mini KitKats is the equivalent of one regular-sized bar, with 210 calories, 22 grams of sugar and 7 grams of fat. And it’s not just the calories, per se, but the fact that you’ve consumed a non-nutrient dense food laden with refined sugar, bound to trigger a garden variety of bodily reactions, the least of them being a spike in blood sugar.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I love chocolate, the darker and more bitter the better. And even I I have been known to forage through four bags of candy for my elusive favorites, cursing my boys’ predilection for all things gummy as I search for my favorites.
Even though it is not nutritious, I’m not going to judge you for eating candy. We are all responsible for ourselves, our choices, and our path to wellness. I do find that when I am armed with knowledge, it helps me to make the best choices.
So, for your information, here’s the wrap.
You’ve consumed the equivalent of a full bar or bag of candy if you’ve eaten:
Three (3) fun size bags of mini M&Ms
Three (3) fun-size Twix
Three (3) fun size bags of Skittles
Two and three quarters (2.75) fun size Butterfingers
Two and a half (2.5) fun size bags of mini Peanut M&Ms
My suggestion? Skip the processed candy that doesn’t taste anywhere near as great as you remember from childhood (likely because it’s even more processed than it was back then), and whip up a batch of my easy chocolate truffles to sate your sweet tooth.