Before you dip into that stash of Halloween candy hanging around the house or at the office, consider this: One “fun size” Baby Ruth candy bar contains 130 calories and seven grams of fat.
Eat four of them, and you’ve taken in 520 calories and 28 grams of fat. That’s nearly one-fifth more calories and seven times more fat than if you’d eaten a full meal at dinner. (Three ounces of roasted chicken breast, one cup of brown rice and one cup of cooked broccoli totals 415 calories and 4 grams of fat.)
“It’s nothing for people to grab a handful of fun-size bars and eat maybe four to six at a time without them stopping to realize the high amount of fat and calories contained in those tiny bars,” said registered dietitian Angela Shaw, D.T.R., coordinator of “The Healthy Weigh” weight management program offered at Cooper University Hospital locations throughout South Jersey.
For instance, six fun-size chocolate-peanut butter cups total 660 calories and 36 grams of fat. “At that rate, with the chicken, rice and broccoli dinner, you could have had a half-cup of chocolate pudding for dessert and still have consumed 95 less calories and four-and-a-half times less fat than in those six fun-size peanut butter cups,” Shaw said.
Aside from abstinence, moderation would be the solution. But most people find that too difficult, Shaw said.
“What I tell people in my weight management classes is to go ahead and enjoy the treats for a day, and then get rid of them. Don’t keep the temptation around,” she said.
If removing the treats isn’t possible, like when your office mates put out bowls of Halloween candy to share at work, and you simply can’t resist the urge to splurge, Shaw says you should:
COMBAT THE CALORIES
“If you’re splurging, make sure you increase your activity. Remember, it’s calories in, calories out. Take advantage of the beautiful fall weather and go outside for a walk.”
GET MORE BANG FOR YOUR CALORIE BUCK
“Choose the lower-fat candy treats, which typically allow you to eat more servings and feel more satisfied, or choose the candies that provide some nutrients.” For example, 25 squares of wrapped chocolate mints total 180 calories but only 1.5 grams of fat. Seventeen gummy bears have 140 calories and zero fat. While a fun-size bag of peanut M&M’s has 110 calories and 5 grams of fat, the peanuts provide protein and the fat is “good fat”—monounsaturated, not the artery-clogging saturated kind found in hydrogenated oils.
COUNT THE FAT
Keep a good check on your fat consumption. Ideally, the fat content in any single serving of any food should be under 30 percent of the serving’s total calorie count. “A good rule of thumb to quickly calculate the percentage is to think of three grams of fat (or less) per each 100 calories.” For example, a 200-calorie single serving that has 6 grams of fat is exactly 30 percent.
“The Healthy Weigh” is Cooper University Hospital’s individualized weight management program featuring a refreshing approach to successful weight reduction and nutritional well-being. Participants learn to identify the personal steps they need to take to achieve and maintain their optimal weight and good health. Information on foods to lower cholesterol and/or blood pressure and to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes also is provided.
To learn more about “The Healthy Weigh” program, or to register for an upcoming class, call program coordinator Angela Shaw, D.T.R, at (856) 321-0012.