Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Healthy Halloween! (Part 2)

The Calories in Disguise
Beyond the fun-size (and therefore calorie-controlled) candies, several Halloween treats are big calorie bombs. Be on the lookout for these surprisingly high-cal Halloween treats, which can add up fast if you let your guard down, especially if you are on a calorie-controlled plan!

TRICK: Pumpkin Flavoured Baked Goodies
Pumpkin itself is a healthful food. Plain pumpkin puree contains vitamin A and fiber and a small amount of calories. But, pair it with sugar, cream cheese frosting and butter and you’ve got a high-cal treat dressed up  in a healthy-looking orange outfit!!  Restaurants and coffee shops are devils in disguise...promoting their pumpkin scones, muffins, donuts and breads, which can contain up to 630 calories per serving. Don't let "low-fat" versions trick your either; low-fat is not the same thing as low-calorie. Your best bet is to avoid all of these pumpkin treats, unless you look up the nutrition facts before you bite and decide that it can fit into your day. Homemade treats, frequents at parties and offices, aren't necessarily better either, so be careful!
TREAT: You can bake your own pumpkin treats using less sugar and fat, plus whole-grain goodness. Use a mini muffin tin to help with keep your portions in check and steer clear of these seasonal baked goods!

TRICK: Hot Beverages
Sometimes there is nothing more enjoyable than sipping a hot drink on a crisp fall day. Many coffee spots offer special seasonal beverages during the holidays. While plain coffee is low-cal, seasonal lattes and drinks contain a lot of sugar, and most boast a heavy dose of cream, too. A medium pumpkin spice latte with whole milk is 410 calories at Starbucks, and its competitors don't do much better. As liquid calories do not aid in fullness or satiety, these calories probably are not worth it!
TREAT:  Order a smaller drink and lighten the load by requesting fat free milk and holding any whipped topping. Like the spicy taste??  Freshly brewed chai tea can be a great alternative that is virtually calorie-free, but look out for blended drinks that are ready to serve; they often contain cream, syrups and lots of added sugar. Or, ask for hot water and a teabag of chai tea (black tea with spices) with some low-fat milk on the side!

The most important thing to remember during the Halloween season is to "peak under the mask", and think before you bite! Think about what these seasonal treats are doing for your body and put your label reading skills to work so you can stay in control of your choices.

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