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1:51 AM Tue, Dec. 11th

Set yourself up for success when it comes to Halloween candy

There are several healthy alternatives

First, there is no need to fear temptation of overindulging on sweets. If you have children or enjoy passing treats out to children from the neighborhood, you can still take measures to avoid temptation without feeling like you have lost out on the fun of your holiday.

If you are fearful of losing control and over-eating, pre-portioned pretzels, cereal bars, sugarless gum, popcorn, and raisins provide healthy alternatives to candy. If you would prefer to not deal with candy or food of any kind, pencils, rings and stickers are fun alternatives to handing out candy.

Avoid buying candy too early. You can usually wait until the last minute, and the stores will still have candy in stock.

If you really want to provide candy for the kids, buy candy that you either do not like or at least is not your favorite.

Buy candy that is a little more expensive. If the candy costs a little more, you won't want to buy too much and have excess candy lying around the house.

Be careful when it comes to all of that leftover candy the stores mark down so much after the holiday. It is not a bargain when your weight, health and well-being are involved.

Even if you take these measures, you may have children that bring home bags of junk food.

Plan on making rules for your children - you probably don't want them overindulging on the candy they collect.

First of all, inspect all the candy to make sure they have not been tampered with.

As you do this, make up little baggies of candy. Freeze excess for future occasions, so that Halloween is a little healthier and a little less hazardous to your weight and to the health of your family.

Since your children will probably be out after dark, please have them carry flashlights for their safety.

If you find yourself starting to think about baking for the holidays, look at the ingredients to see where you can cut fat and calories.Making simple substitutions in your favorite recipes can make significant reductions in calories.

Here are some examples of how many calories that can be saved:

• 1-cup skim milk instead of 1-cup whole milk saves 60 calories.

• Substituting 8 egg whites for 4 whole eggs saves 188 calories.

• Using nonstick cooking spray instead of oil or butter can save 135 calories per tablespoon.

• Using plain, nonfat yogurt instead of cream in recipes can save more than 700 calories.

• Using plain, nonfat yogurt instead of mayonnaise in dressing recipes and dips can save more than 480 calories per 1/3 cup.

• Using 1 cup of a non-calorie sweetener in place of 1 cup of sugar saves 960 calories.

If you are struggling with weight loss, please stop by the Diet Center at 1848 Hope Ave., or you are always welcome to call me at (928) 753-5066.