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Diet Solutions: Holiday Diet

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Happy Halloween: Best, Worst Candy
by ShaunaS

Rate: TerribleRate: OkayRate: AverageRate: Pretty goodRate: Excellent    (63 votes)

We’ve officially kicked off the candy-themed holidays with a big bang – Halloween! If you’re scared by the candy invading your home, office, school and every business you walk into, I understand!

It can be hard to stick with a healthy eating plan when candy is staring you down everywhere you turn.

While it may seem impossible to keep your hand out of the candy jar, it’s not impossible. Read on for some tips on sticking with your plan and which candies are not so spooky.

13 Spook-tacular Tips
• Buy candy the day before Halloween and buy only what you need.

• If you buy candy - buy something you do not like or try lollipops (they are harder to overindulge in!).

• Discard leftovers or donate leftovers to your local church, charity or neighbors and set a specific date to rid of candy.

• Don’t shop for candy when you are hungry.

• Try to give away all of the candy you bought – a good deal for late trick or treaters!

• Try non-food treats such as stickers, pencils, erasers, bracelets or plastic spiders.

• Try healthier treats such as 100-calories packs (crackers, cookies or fruit snacks), juice boxes, microwave popcorn, mini boxes of raisins, sugarless gum, mini packs of baby carrots or peanuts.

• Vow to keep a munch log and record every innocent treat you eat!

• Read the nutrition facts before you empty the bag and throw it away.

• Plan a treat into your day but try to keep it under 150 calories. You can use this as a substitution for your normal treat.

• Vow to walk 10-minutes for every extra treat that you eat.

• Follow the same rules your kids follow – you probably don’t let them indulge in Halloween candy whenever they want!

• Make your dentist proud and brush your teeth after each treat – this will also help signal that you are done with the treats.

Some candy facts are downright scary and others not so much – take a look at my top 5 best and worst picks.

Say no to these candies in the jack-o-lantern (these “snack” sized treats can easily add up to more than a regular candy bar!):

1. Snack Size Twizzlers: 130 calories
2. Snack Size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup: 110 calories
3. Snack Size Butterfinger: 100 calories
4. Fun Size M&M’s: 100 calories
5. Snack Size Milky Way: 90 calories

Say yes to these candies in the jack-o-lantern in moderation (remember, just because they’re little doesn’t mean they don’t add up!)

1. Mini Tootsie Roll: 13 calories
2. Reese’s Mini Cup: 35 calories
3. Treat Size Box Milk Duds: 40 calories
4. Miniature Box Raisins: 45 calories
5. Treat Size SweetTarts: 50 calories

Have a lot of trick and a little treat this Halloween!

Shauna Schultz, RD

October 31, 2008

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Happy Gluten-Free Halloween!
by TriciaThompsonMS/RD

Rate: TerribleRate: OkayRate: AverageRate: Pretty goodRate: Excellent    (56 votes)

Halloween is just a few days away and the excitement certainly is growing in my house. But if you have a child who can’t eat gluten you probably are less than thrilled with this holiday.

How do you let them eat candy and make sure it is gluten free, especially when the little mini versions available at Halloween generally do not contain ingredient lists?

You could always forgo trick-or-treating altogether and have a Halloween party instead. If this is considered a “no fun” option in your house than hopefully the following tips will help.

If you haven’t done so already, plan to spend some time at the store parked in front of the Halloween candy display reading ingredient lists. Write down the names of those candies that do not contain any gluten ingredients.

Many candy manufacturers include allergen information on their packaging. However, some allergen information is more helpful than others.

Smarties candy, manufactured by the Ce De Candy Company, states the following on their label, “Smarties contain none of the following common allergens: gluten (from wheat, barley, oats, and rye), milk, egg, fish, Crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, or soybeans.” Now that is what I call helpful allergen labeling!! I will buy this candy just for this statement alone.

If the bags of candy you pick up do not contain all of this helpful information and you are concerned about allergens and cross contact, go online to manufacturer websites to see if they have any information available on allergens and gluten. You can also call manufacturers to discuss their quality control procedures.

There are lists of candy made without gluten-containing ingredients available on line. Google gluten-free Halloween candy and several sites will come up. You will have to judge for yourself how reliable you think the information is.

Make sure your child is aware of what candy you decide is gluten free and safe for them to eat. That way when presented with a choice and allowed to choose their own piece of candy, they will choose a gluten-free variety.

If you are friends with some of the families in the areas where you will be trick-or-treating, give them a list of gluten-free candy or provide them with candy yourself. This way your child is guaranteed a gluten-free option from at least some of the houses they visit.

In fact, this is a strategy followed by the Roberts family, a family of five with celiac disease and multiple food allergies.

Mom Jane says, “In the past I have prepared for trick-or-treating by planning ahead. I made 10 Ziploc bags of candies for each of my kids and delivered them to my neighbors with a note asking them to give these to our children on Halloween night. That way, I knew for sure the kids would get at least some candy they could eat.

"Afterward, the children of some of those parents were willing to do a "candy trade" for the candies that weren't safe that my kids received at other houses. It worked out great! I was amazed how willing people were to help out the next year and actually asked what kind of candy was safe for my children. What a treat!”

This may seem like a no-brainer but, just in case, make sure the candy you buy to give out Halloween night is gluten free. Buy extra so that your child can “trade” the gluten-containing candy they receive for the gluten-free candy you are handing out. Kids (at least mine and it looks like Jane’s too) love to trade candy.

Let your child exchange their gluten-containing candy for a toy. We have been exchanging candy for a toy in my house for years simply because I didn’t want my son eating too much candy!

Hopefully some of these tips are useful and will help make Halloween a little less stressful for you!


Tricia Thompson, M.S., RD is a nutrition consultant, author and speaker specializing in celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. She is the author of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide (McGraw-Hill) and co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gluten-Free Eating (Penguin Group). For more information, visit www.glutenfreedietitian.com.

GLUTEN-FREE IS A GOOD START! But to get a weight loss plan perfectly catered to your personal needs, click here and becomes a Diet.com Premium Member!

For a copy of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide click here.

October 28, 2008

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Worst/Best Mixed Drinks For Summer
by ShaunaS

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The mercury is rising, vacations are in full swing and patio happy hours are bustling – what do all of the above have in common? Frosty, refreshing cocktails!

It sure is tempting to order that frozen margarita or mai tai – but did you stop and think how it might be thwarting your diet efforts? If you’re not careful, cocktails can add thousands of calories to your week and if you are a frequent happy hour participant, this can be enough to slow your progress.

The good news? It is possible to enjoy a refreshing cocktail!

Just choose high calorie drinks in moderation and choose lower calories ones as your drink of choice. Compare the following cocktails and you be the judge!

Skip these Sips!

Margarita – that sweet slushy stuff isn’t too good to be true – it’s packed with calories! Calorie count: 500.

Long Island Iced Tea – what do you get when you mix five different kinds of liquors with sweet and sour and soda? A calorie count comparable to a Big Mac! Calorie count: 700.

Pina Coloda – this island favorite gets most of its calories from high fat coconut milk, save the coconut milk for an occasional curry dish instead! Calorie count: 625.

Chocolate Martini – it is made with chocolate and cream after all! If this is your dessert, that’s one thing, but I’d rather have a piece of chocolate cake! Calorie count: 450.

White Russian – are you a brunch libation kind of person? Skip this rich and creamy drink for special occasions. Calorie count: 300.

Savor these Sips Instead

Tequila Sunrise – you still get the tequila with a sweet touch but with more than half the calories! Calorie count: 200.

Greyhound – this simple drink of grapefruit juice and vodka packs a flavor punch but keeps the calories low. Calorie count: 200.

Mojito – now this is an island drink you can feel good about! And, fresh mint and lime will leave you feeling refreshed. Calorie count: 160.

Cosmopolitan – if martinis are your thing, don’t shy away from this trendy drink. Calorie count: 150 calories.

Bloody Mary – add another serving of veggies to your brunch (or lunch or dinner!). Blood Mary’s are slim and trim! Calorie count: 150.

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July 28, 2008

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