Candy is Dandy, But...

It’s that time of year again – Halloween, when most of kiddies (and many mommies and papas) will scarf down bags of candy. As a nurse, you want to make sure that this celebration, which opens the sweets-heavy holiday season -- doesn't bust your health goals, or those of your family.

You can't get away from sweets today. According to the National Confectioner’s Association’s 2013 survey of 1,335 American adults, 74 percent of households will hand out Halloween candy to little trick or treaters this year.

Not surprisingly, 81 percent of parents cop to sneaking a few (or many!) treats from the Halloween candy their kids bring home. Moms are especially tempted to dip into the sweet stash.

Instead of sneaking candy, many parents enact a house rule that treats must be shared with all family members.

Or, parents buy their own favorite candies to hand out -- but also frequently reach in and help themselves. One Snickers for the witch....one for me. One Almond Joy for the goblin...one for me. By the end of the night, that's quite a lot of sugar and calories consumed!

Candy is a delicioius part of life, especially during childhood. Many kids regard Halloween as their favorite holiday -- after all, it's all about the sweets. Sugar leads to cavities, though, which is why pediatric dentist recommend that kids stay away from the gooey stuff -- taffy, Tootsie Rolls, caramels and Jolly Ranchers, which adheres teeth. What's better? Chocolate, such as Hershey’s Kisses, Miniatures, and M&M's.

Some dentists will "buy back" candy from trick or treaters for $1 dollar a pound or so, to encourage patients to keep a handful of sweets and turn over the rest. (Some parents have instituted the same type of buy-back offer, switching candy for cool cash or coveted items, including toys, art supplies or clothing.)

Dentists also advise parents to limit their kids' candy consumption to a few pieces a day, eaten after dinner but before tooth brushing.

Adults would be smart to do the same, in order to save their teeth -- and their waistlines. Here are some candy options that clock in at about 50 to 100 calories:

15-25 small jelly beans = 60 calories

Fun-size candy bar = 80 calories

2 strings of licorice = 50 calories

3 pieces of hard candy = 60 calories

2 bite-size peanut butter cups = 90 calories

2 bite-size chocolates = 90 calories

Whatever your favorite sweet treat, enjoy it today! In moderation, of course.

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