Halloween: Trick or Treat!

Since Halloween is just a few days away, I thought it worthwhile to raise the issue of both the tricks and treats of managing diabetes on this scary day. And no, this week’s posting isn’t just for kids.

How many of you:

It’s okay to admit that you like candy. Sure, we all know that eating too much candy isn’t good for any of us, diabetes or not. But gone are the days when people with diabetes were practically forbidden to swallow anything that contained sugar. What we’ve learned over the past 20 years or so is that sugar is a type of carbohydrate (or “carb”), just as starch is a type of carb. All carbs, with the exception of fiber, get broken down into glucose in the body. Our bodies then use this glucose for fuel.


Now, of course, the goal is to eat “healthy” carbs, such as whole-grain bread, fruits, and vegetables. These foods are loaded with fiber and other important nutrients. And many of the sources of healthy carbs have a low glycemic index[1], which means that they many not cause as large a “spike” in your blood glucose level after eating compared to more refined carbs.

So, armed with the knowledge about how carbs affect your blood glucose and how much carb you need to stay healthy and keep your own diabetes (and your weight) in good control, you can decide if you’d like to use some of your carbs for a Halloween “treat.” The “trick” here is to:

Let’s take a look at some favorite Halloween goodies and how much carb they contain.

Almond Joy, miniatures
Serving Size: 2
Carb (grams): 16

Butterfinger, fun size
Serving Size: 1
Carb (grams): 14

Hershey with Almonds, snack size
Serving Size: 2
Carb (grams): 18

Kit Kat, snack size
Serving Size: 1
Carb (grams): 10

Milky Way, fun size
Serving Size: 1
Carb (grams): 12

M&Ms, fun size
Serving Size: 1 bag
Carb (grams): 13

Nestle Crunch, fun size
Serving Size: 2
Carb (grams): 19

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, snack size
Serving Size: 2
Carb (grams): 9

Snickers Bar, fun size
Serving Size: 1
Carb (grams): 11

Candy corn
Serving Size: 11
Carb (grams): 18

Serving Size: 6
Carb (grams): 18

Junior Mints
Serving Size: 8
Carb (grams): 18

Tootsie Rolls, midgees
Serving Size: 3
Carb (grams): 14

Remember that 15 grams of carb is considered “one carb serving” or “one carb choice.” Also, remember that the choice is yours. You might decide that eating 11 pieces of candy corn (which really isn’t all that much) isn’t worth the 18 grams of carb when you could eat about 3 cups of popcorn or a small apple. And candy generally contains more calories and fat than other, healthier snacks, so if you’re watching your weight, go easy with the treats. Limit yourself to one “fun size” treat if it’s chocolate you crave. Tell your kids to hide their candy from you, give any leftovers away, or store them in the freezer for an occasional treat long after Halloween is over. As long as you celebrate this spooky holiday just once a year, allow yourself a little treat without feeling too wicked!

Happy Halloween!

  1. glycemic index: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/Amy_Campbell/Glycemic_Index_and_Glycemic_Load

Source URL: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/halloween-trick-or-treat/

Amy Campbell: Amy Campbell is the author of Staying Healthy with Diabetes: Nutrition and Meal Planning and a frequent contributor to Diabetes Self-Management and Diabetes & You. She has co-authored several books, including the The Joslin Guide to Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association’s 16 Myths of a “Diabetic Diet,” for which she received a Will Solimene Award of Excellence in Medical Communication and a National Health Information Award in 2000. Amy also developed menus for Fit Not Fat at Forty Plus and co-authored Eat Carbs, Lose Weight with fitness expert Denise Austin. Amy earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Simmons College and a master’s degree in nutrition education from Boston University. In addition to being a Registered Dietitian, she is a Certified Diabetes Educator and a member of the American Dietetic Association, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Amy was formerly a Diabetes and Nutrition Educator at Joslin Diabetes Center, where she was responsible for the development, implementation, and evaluation of disease management programs, including clinical guideline and educational material development, and the development, testing, and implementation of disease management applications. She is currently the Director of Clinical Education Content Development and Training at Good Measures. Amy has developed and conducted training sessions for various disease and case management programs and is a frequent presenter at disease management events.

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