This Halloween, don’t let bulk bags of candy and pumpkin-inspired sweets haunt your diet. You know you don't want to show up at the big party dressed as Casper the “does this sheet make me look fat” Ghost. Marissa Lippert, MS, RD has some simple tricks for how to indulge in your favorite treats.
Don’t Just Carve It, Eat It
1) When you’re done carving the pumpkin, don’t throw out the seeds! They’re loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fats and may help lower cholesterol levels. Roast them up with a little olive oil, garlic powder, paprika and salt and pepper. They’re darn tasty and pack in a lot of healthy fats and protein, but can also rack up in calories quickly so aim for a small handful per serving, (1oz = about 150 calories, 12 grams fat, 9 grams protein).
2) Love your Pumpkin Spice latte each morning? Save well over 200 calories and 8 grams of fat by switching to a tall with skim milk and skip the whip. Ask for 1-2 small pumps of the syrup and get the pumpkin flavor without the excess sugar and calories.
3) If you’re going to splurge this Halloween, make it a thin slice of pumpkin pie and get a major boost of beta-carotene (vitamin A) and disease-fighting antioxidants. For a healthier twist, mix low-fat plain or vanilla yogurt with canned pumpkin and season with pumpkin pie spices. Just ½ cup of canned pumpkin is 40 calories and contains over 400% of your daily value of vitamin A!
4) Pumpkin doesn’t have to be for desserts and muffins alone. Roast up pumpkin just as you would other winter squash and serve it as a nutrient-packed side dish or cube it and toss into a flavorful fall salad. Stir in canned pumpkin into whole wheat pancakes for a healthful twist on breakfast.
5) Pumpkin is a nutritional superstar, but beware of higher calorie items such as pumpkin ravioli with sage butter sauce, pumpkin scones and mega-sized muffins. Try knocking portions back by ½ and go light on the butter sauce to still enjoy these favorite fall foods on occasion.
Here's a go-to-guide for your favorite Halloween treats—all under 200 calories:
• candy corn (1 serving, 22 pieces) 140 calories, 0 grams fat
• fun sized Snickers or Milkyway (1) 75 calories, 3.5 grams fat
• fun sized M&M's (1 pack) 90 calories, 4.5 grams fat
• Twizzlers (3 pieces) 130 calories, 5 grams fat
• Peppermint Pattie minis (2 pieces) 110 calories, 2 grams fat
• Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (3 minis) 90 calories, 7 grams fat
• snack sized Butterfinger (1) 100 calories, 4 grams fat
• fun sized Raisinets (1 pack) 65 calories, 2.5 grams fat
• fun sized Goobers (1 pack) 85 calories, 5 grams fat