Surviving Halloween


Reese's, Snickers and Kit Kats galore.

With Halloween right around the corner, candy is at a constant overflow. It can be ever-so-tempting to gorge all weekend, happily opening many bright colored fun-sized items, but stomachs will revolt and waistlines will grow if precautions aren't taken. When consuming delicious candies, keep in mind a few interesting facts.

According to Men's Health Magazine, half a pack of Skittles contains more sugar than just one scoop of Häagan Dazs cookies and cream ice cream. A Wendy's Double Stack burger has fewer calories than nine Twizzlers, and three miniature Reese's cups have more sugar than a glazed donut.

Janice Cochran, UB's nutritionist and physical activity promotion coordinator, offers many helpful hints to keep in mind during the frenzy of candy overload this weekend.

"Eat what you love. Don't waste your taste buds on candy you don't really enjoy. Choose the few you really like, savor them mindfully and give the rest away," Cochran said.

Cochran also stresses that students should not skip regular meals and include fiber, protein and some fats when eating. A balanced meal will curb cravings for sweets and reduce the possibility of binging on candy.

The National American Chemical Society reports that drinking 16 ounces of water before eating will fill the stomach, suppressing hunger, and can actually aid in weight loss. This can be a great strategy to fight cravings as well.

Cochran cautions that the novelty may diminish after the initial taste.

"We're more likely to enjoy treats when we eat them in smaller quantities," Cochran said. "Does that fourth fun-size Snickers bar taste as good as the first? I doubt it. Is gorging on candy what we really want to do? Fill up on real food and add a treat when you really feel like it. Trust your body. Let it tell you when you've had enough."

The American Heart Association recommends that the average American woman should take in no more than 100 calories of added sugar per day, while the average American man should consume no more than 150 calories of added sugar. Assuming that one hasn't consumed any other added sugars, one could eat nine Hershey kisses or about four fun-sized candy bars guilt free.

The biggest survival tip of the weekend is to have candy out of constant sight.

"A candy dish that's closer will prompt us to eat more candy," Cochran said. "Place foods so you have a treat now and then rather than every 10 minutes."

Researchers from the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab have been researching "How Visibility and Convenience Influence Candy Consumption." When candy is readily available in abundance, one is more likely to eat it simply because one can, not because one is hungry, leading to unhealthy habits.

Keeping these survival tips in mind this weekend may help students maintain happy stomachs and waistlines on Monday.

"I think what's more helpful is focusing less on black and white rules and focusing more on good core eating habits that can help us through holidays and other stressors – eating regular meals that include a variety of foods…can serve students well," Cochran said.