Halloween candy for budget- and calorie-conscious

- Can you stock up on Halloween candy without blowing your budget and your diet? Good Housekeeping Nutrition Director Jackie London says yes, there are cheaper choices that will still satisfy your sweet tooth.

But when it comes to saving money, avoid the big mixed bags of candy. Jackie says they often look like a better option because you're getting so many different choices, but the best deals are really on the bags of candy of the same type. Those giant mixed bags can cost $9, she says, while you can get two bags of M&M's on sale for 2 for $7.

When it comes to calories, Jackie says keep it to 200 or less per serving. Aim for 20 grams of added sugar or less, and up to 3 grams of saturated fat. That may sound limiting, but she showed us plenty of options that meet those requirements.

Jackie says lollipops are a great choice. Each one is only about 60 calories, which makes them a simple way to get your sugar fix without overdoing it. They take a bit longer to eat and enjoy so you're allowing your brain to catch up with your stomach and register that you've eaten something sweet.

All of Jackie's other favorites are made with chocolate. She says chocolate can be more satisfying because of its mouth-feel and higher fat content. Don't be afraid of the fat in chocolate, she says, because you're indulging. Plenty of options come in under 3 grams of saturated fat per serving.

Some of her favorite examples:

Two York Peppermint Patties have 120 calories, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, and 22 grams of added sugar.

The fun sized bags of Peanut M&M's have about 150 calories.

You can have three of the fun-sized Pretzel M&M's for 150 calories.

Two fun-sized Snickers are around 200 calories, plus you get 3 grams of protein.

Jackie says candy shouldn't be your protein source, but the peanuts and caramel in those Snickers are what makes them more satisfying.

If quantity is most important to you, Hershey's Kisses are the way to go. Jackie says you can have up to nine dark chocolate Kisses for 200 calories.

The key here, according to Jackie, is to find something you love so you feel satisfied and aren't reaching for more. Ask yourself how you feel during and after eating a treat and determine whether it makes you feel happy and satisfied. She says you should choose the chocolate you love and enjoy.

Also, watch out for partially hydrogenated oils, which lower good cholesterol and raise bad cholesterol -- the opposite of what you want. Jackie says partially hydrogenated oils will be eliminated from all foods by 2018. But for now, make sure you check those candy labels.

www.goodhousekeeping.com

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