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Don’t Let Holiday Candy Scare You

Are you worrying about how to resist “sampling” holiday treats and the leftovers that show up at work the next day?

According to the Census Bureau, Americans eat an average of 25 pounds of candy a year. That is nearly a half-pound a week. Although that is less than the 27 pounds consumed in 1997, it is still a hefty amount.

And Halloween seems to start us on that downward spiral of overeating, doesn’t it? First, it is all that candy. Then a few weeks later is Thanksgiving and Mom’s pecan pie. A few weeks after that is Christmas and New Year’s Eve with all the trimmings. Then there is Super Bowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day to further tempt our taste buds. All of a sudden, we have put on a few extra pounds — added to the pounds we put on last year and the year before. How do you get started down the right path?

First, adopt a new attitude. It is easy to fool yourself that you are simply too weak to resist temptation, when in actuality any food you put in your mouth is simply about choices. Make a conscious choice to eat — or not to eat — anything, be it holiday candy, a doughnut or a bag of potato chips. You are not a victim of temptation; you are an adult who is making a choice. It is that simple.

Second, know what you are eating. Study the nutrition label or use a search engine like the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrition Database or Nutrition Data’s Nutrition Facts Calorie Counter, or even just an old-fashioned calorie-counter book. Look up what you are considering eating. You will find that one serving of Almond Joy Bites, for example, contains 218 calories, but that a “serving size” equals 18 pieces. That means if you choose to eat only two pieces, you have cut your calorie consumption down to 25 calories.

Third, do not put yourself in a position to have to make difficult choices. Buying holiday candy? Choose a type that you personally do not like. Afraid of the treats in the snack room at work? Do not enter the room. And make sure you fill up on a healthful, balanced diet — a full stomach is often the easiest way to help us make the right choices.

This article originally appeared in Chow Line 10/8/04 a service of Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and was adapted for use on NetWellness with permission, 2006.

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Go to the Obesity and Weight Management health topic.