Halloween Candy By the Numbers

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
colorful candy

Americans will spend $2.1 billion on Halloween candy this year. That’s a whole lot of candy corn. And chocolate bars. And gummy snakes. And lollipops. And while a piece of candy every now and then is okay, even if you’re on a weight loss program, it’s best to know exactly what you’re eating when you dip your hand into that Halloween candy bowl. Yesterday, The Leaf offered a quiz to see how much you know about Halloween candy. Today we’re offering nutritional information on the five best-selling candies in the United States as determined by the website The Daily Meal, and will discuss the pros and cons of each one.

As a reminder, if you’re on a Nutrisystem program, you know that you can have three daily “extras” adding up to 100 calories or so. The idea is to give you a little bit of what you crave, while teaching yourself not to go overboard and eat too much. Nutrisystem offers tasty NutriChocolates, and our Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Bar is designed for adult taste buds.

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The good news about America’s five most popular candies is that they all contain chocolate, albeit it milk chocolate. And although the darker the chocolate the greater the health benefits, you’ll still get some modest nutritional benefit from candy containing milk chocolate. Remember, though, no more than 100 calories per day from these treats. All of the nutritional information below was taken from the manufacturers’ websites on October 26, 2015.

5. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar—The iconic American chocolate bar contains 220 calories in a standard 1.55-ounce bar. Half of those calories are from fat. If you’re looking to stay within the Nutrisystem Extra guidelines, eat a little bit less than half of the standard bar. Share it with a friend so there are no leftovers to tempt you.

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4. Kit Kat—A chocolate-covered biscuit bar, you can find Kit Kats around the world, where they’re made by Nestle, and in the United States, where they’re made under a license, by Hershey. A standard American-made Kit Kat contains 210 calories, so you can eat roughly two of the four sticks in the standard bar and be within your Nutrisystem daily Extra count. Same as above, share with your friend so you won’t be tempted to eat the whole thing.

3. Snickers—Even the most ardent followers of weight loss programs could be thrown for a loop by a bowl of Snickers. So here’s what you do: if you’re looking at the standard 1.9-ounce bar, remember that the whole thing contains 250 calories, so you’re only going to be able to eat about one-third of it and stay within the Extras guideline. Better to look for a Fun Size, which abounds this time of year, and has 80 calories. You’ll have the satisfaction of eating the whole thing, and none of the temptation of knowing two-thirds of a candy bar is rattling around somewhere, wondering where you are.

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2. M & M’s—America’s second-most popular candy is perhaps the trickiest to deal with for someone trying to lose weight, because you can easily fall into the “just one more trap.” A standard bag of milk chocolate M & Ms contains 240 calories, so you can eat a little less than half the bag and still be within Extra range. The Fun Size bag isn’t that much smaller than the standard size, and has 190 calories. If you’re served either of these, eat less than half the bag by sharing with friends. And eat each piece, one-by-one. Mmmm.

1. Reese’s—The most popular candy in the United States this Halloween defies the ground-nut bans seen in many schools by combining peanut butter with chocolate. And there’s good news for those trying to lose weight: one of the peanut butter cups contained in the two-cup standard package contains 105 calories, just a tad over the 100 calorie limit. Just be sure to share the second one with a friend, or opt for the single serving you’ll see this time of year.