As you gear up to trick or treat with your kids this Halloween, keep in mind that this is a holiday that wreaks havoc on your children’s teeth and, if you’re not careful, your waistline. Some of Halloween’s best treats play the worst tricks, much to our dismay.
Womansday.com compiled a list of 10 treats to avoid this Halloween, some of which may leave you reaching for a box of tissues. Why? Because they are also some of the tastiest!
Even so, the last thing you want is for your kids to end up in the dentist chair with a mouth full of cavities, so read on, and make sure you keep a toothbrush — and your self control — handy when it comes to these 10 chewy, calorie-packed, sugary sweets.
Yes, Snickers. This treat is loaded with fat and calories and contains a primary cavity culprit: caramel.
“It gets stuck in the crevices between teeth, which makes it impossible for saliva to wash it away,” says Cindy Flanagan, DDS, spokesperson for the General Academy of Dentistry.
If your child (or you) must have chocolate this Halloween, says nutritionist Jacqueline Santora Zimmerman, RD, go for a non-dense version such as a Three Musketeers.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins
Say it isn’t so! Unfortunately, the candy released just for the holiday tends to have approximately 100 additional calories and significantly more saturated fat, says Rachel Berman, RD, Director of Nutrition for CalorieCount.com.
An alternative is Justin’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, a treat that is both organic and containing protein.
Hopefully this one doesn’t leave you quite as depressed … or surprised. Candy corn is nothing but sugar and artificial flavoring and coloring, and contains 180 calories per ounce.
M&Ms Candy Corn White Chocolate Candies
The look on this candy’s face says it all. This treat combines the worst of the worst into one candy with overly-processed white chocolate (to the degree that it isn’t even chocolate at all, says Berman), candy corn flavoring, and the M&M candy shell. Just avoid it.
The longer sugar remains in contact with the teeth, the more cavity-inducing it is, but there is at least one benefit to suckers: “Kids’ mouths are occupied, so they’re less likely to continually shovel in candy,” says Heather Mangieri, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
This candy carries good news and bad news. The good news is that it is just 15 calories per piece. The bad news is that each packet is loaded with fat and sugar, and the chewy consistency remains between teeth long after the child is done eating it, which can result in cavities.
Sour Patch Kids
These candies are easily addictive because they combine sweet and sour tastes together. What’s more, these treats contain a high level of acidity, which breaks down tooth enamel quickly.
Fun Dip: a stick of sugar used to eat loose sugar. No, it’s not difficult to imagine how bad for your kids this treat really is. Berman suggests Smarties instead. “They’re still just sugar, but they’re portion-controllable, with 25 calories per serving.” That’s half of what Fun Dip packs in a serving.
Skittles are filled with hydrogenated oils, or trans fats, as well as sugar, corn syrup, and artificial colors. One suggestion is to use these candies for crafts, though, such as gingerbread houses.
Sugary Bubble Gum
Kids don’t typically swallow gum, but it still contains carbohydrates, sugar, and calories. The positives about gum is that it helps dislodge food particles from the teeth and induces saliva, which helps neutralize the acid in the mouth.
Candy is a fact of life for most families come Halloween, so moderation is the key. Don’t let your kids get carried away and, perhaps, get rid of some of that candy while they aren’t looking … just don’t get rid of it by eating it yourself!