So you let your kid go trick or treating. It’s a part of childhood — the dressing up, frolicking around the neighborhood, giggling over their newly acquired stash… But leave your kid alone with the bag for five minutes and you know they will have devoured more candy than their bodies bargained for.
While the famous candy-induced sugar high is more fiction than fact, an excess of sugar and sweets can take its toll on your loved ones’ health. This isn’t a trick — those treats should be limited. According to recommendations from the World Health Organization, “free sugars” (sugars from processed or refined foods) should be capped at five percent of your total daily caloric intake.
That’s a lot of numbers to figure out, so we did the math for you: For a moderately active 10-year-old, the limit is 23 grams of added sugar per day.
23 grams of candy translates to a meager sum of wrapped goods. Most of the items stuffed in your child’s pillowcase have far more sugar than you thought. We tallied up the numbers for some of America’s most popular Halloween candies, and found how many of each candy your kid should really be allowed per day.
The equivalent of 23 grams of sugar amounts to just two fun-sized bars of 3 Musketeers. Those candies are packing a ton of sugar in a tiny package. Undoubtedly delicious, make sure you’re not allowing your kids to gorge on many more than two!
This plasticky treat is a favorite of many around Halloween time. It’s fun to fill a decorative bowl with the confection, but keep it out of reach of the kids. It only takes 16 candy corns to surpass the 23 grams of added sugar they should be eating each day. That’s about a small handful’s worth. Of course, there are healthier, naturally sweetened varieties. While they’re still sugary, they’re probably better for you than the processed stuff.
A trip to the Hershey’s factory is a fun indulgence for a special vacation, but if you’re not careful, Halloween brings the chocolate factory to you. After eating 5 1/2 Hershey’s miniatures, your kid has consumed enough sugar for the day. Don’t turn the chocolate overload into an everyday thing — ration out that giant bag of miniatures.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are the ultimate fan-favorite, claiming their title as the most popular candy in America. They’re delicious, but also pretty dense with sugar. Your kids can eat five mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups before they’ve hit their sugar threshold. Portion these addictive, adorably-shaped bites wisely.
The rainbow tastes so, so good — probably because of all the sugar. Skittles are a fun snack for kids, but according to dietary recommendations, you should cap it at 27. Fun-size bags of Skittles have 12 candies each.
Since they’re loaded with peanuts, you might think a Snickers Bar doesn’t have a ton of added sugar. You’d be wrong — between the caramel, chocolate, and other parts of the dense, chewy bar, it only takes 3.2 fun-size bars to dose your 10-year-old with enough sugar for the day’s limit.
Sour Patch Kids/itemmaster
First they’re sour, then they’re… so sweet. After 14 gummies, your trick-or-treater has eaten their fill of added sugars for the day. The gummies themselves are pure sugar, and they’re coated with a sweet, tangy dusting of even more.
Starbursts are the favorite fruity candy of America; because they’re so small and colorful, they tend to be a popular Halloween treat. A child can have eight individually-wrapped Starbursts before they overdo it on the added sugar. That’s two of each Original flavor!
Twix or treat? After 2.7 Twix minis, you might want to steer your kids towards another treat (preferably one without any more added sugar).
It takes 15 hours of production to make just one Twizzler rope — and under five seconds to eat it. If you’re going by the dietary guidelines, just make sure you cap it at 4 1/2 Twizzlers per day. Maybe share that last one with a fellow candy lover, or use it in a dessert recipe!