By Maris Callahan - DietsInReview.com
Halloween can be a scary night if you're watching your diet. With October 31 right around the corner, it's important to plan ahead if you want to indulge in tricks and treats without sacrificing your waistline.
"You can avoid Halloween bloat without resorting to handing out raisins or pencils," Tanya Zuckerbrot, R.D., a NYC-based nutritionist and author of The F-Factor Diet told Men's Fitness. "Jelly beans or Skittles are low-cal, as far as candy goes, and a Tootsie roll pop will last you the longest for only 60 calories."
To indulge in Halloween candy in moderation, be sure that you're getting the most bang for your Halloween buck with some of these simple candy swaps and substitutions.
SPLURGE: Caramel Peanut Apples might have all your favorite fall flavors, but they also have 300 calories apiece - the same amount as three tablespoons of butter. To burn it off, you'd need to rake leaves for an hour.
INSTEAD: Slice a whole, fresh apple and dip in two tablespoons of natural peanut butter. Leave the skin on the fruit for an extra fiber boost.
SPLURGE: They're small and sweet but are anything but innocent. One small serving of candy corn (approximately 26 pieces) will set you back 140 calories and a whopping 28g sugar. The average person would need to spend up to 40 minutes walking at a brisk pace on a treadmill or outdoors in order to burn those calories.
INSTEAD: Choose a small handful of unsweetened, dried fruit. Dried cherries have less sugar but enough to satisfy a sweet tooth with the added benefit of fiber. According to registered dietitian Cynthia Sass, dried cherries may even help to reduce belly fat.
SPLURGE: If you're craving a chocolate fix, five miniature Milky Way chocolate bars might hit the spot, but they also have 190 calories. To break even, you'd have to do aerobics for 30 minutes.
INSTEAD: Have a small square of high-quality dark chocolate, like Ghirardelli, which may contain antioxidants that help heart health. Also, premium chocolate may be more satisfying and cause you to eat less of it.
SPLURGE: They may seem innocent because they're low in fat, but one piece of red licorice can cost you up to 70 calories. To burn it off, you'd need to do 25 minutes of yoga per piece.
INSTEAD: Before you dig into the Twizzlers, grab a handful of fresh berries. Though they may not be in season in some regions, Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries are high in vitamin C and are strong sources of antioxidants.
SPLURGE: A steaming cup of apple cider might warm you up during an evening of trick-or-treating with the family but an 8-ounce cup serving packs 165 calories. To burn off the beverage, you'll have to spend 20 minutes on a rowing machine the next day.
INSTEAD: A hot cup of Chai tea, like Decaffeinated Tazo Chai, is calorie-free and will keep you warm without helping you pack on the pounds. Blended with African rooibos and exotic spices, Chai is perfect for a chilly fall night.
SPLURGE: If you're craving chewy candy like Dots, which have 150 calories and 22 grams sugar in two mini-boxes, or Fruit Gushers, which have 90 calories and 12 grams sugar in a pouch, keep in mind that you'll have to spend up to 45 minutes on the treadmill to break even.
INSTEAD: A chewy treat that has no calories will taste just as sweet. Try a piece of Orbit Sweet Mint gum (with no fat, calories, or sugar) to stave off cravings. If you still have a yen for candy afterwards, try splitting a serving with a friend.
SPLURGE: Chocolate bars with high-calorie caramel and peanut butter might be decadent, but they also add fat and sugar to an already indulgent treat. Skip the 180-calorie Reese's Peanut Butter pumpkins, because you'll have to hike for about 35 minutes in order to keep the candy from remaining on your hips.
INSTEAD: Chocolate treats with rice or puffy grains can be less caloric and their crunch can be more satisfying. Try a fun-size Nestle Crunch Bars (60 calories, 3 grams fat, 7 grams sugar) - just be sure to stop at one.
Find more tips for avoiding a ghoulishly over-indulgent Halloween at DietsInReview.com: