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When Halloween season hits, there are suddenly rich and decadent sweets all over the place: getting swapped around at school, sitting on every desk at work, looking tempting in your own front hallway, just waiting for trick-or-treaters. Trying to abstain in the name of being healthy just isn't always worth it. "Foods like candy are joy foods," said registered dietitian nutritionist Krista King, MS, LDN, of Composed Nutrition. "They provide joy and enjoyment, which is an important aspect of food we don't touch on enough."
Depriving yourself of the foods you crave can actually backfire on you, added Rachel Fine, MS, RD, of To the Pointe Nutrition. You can try swapping candy out for healthier alternatives (looking at you, dried fruit), but there's a high chance that'll just make the craving and the guilt even stronger, eventually leading to overindulgence of the treat you really wanted.
You're allowed to enjoy Halloween treats without shaming yourself for it — we promise. Case in point: registered dietitians eat Halloween candy, too, and we know because we asked them for their favorites! Some chose satisfying options like Snickers and Reese's (the most popular choice) that can fill you up a little more effectively. Others went straight for the childhood favorites like candy corn. The takeaway: it's OK to choose the candy you really love, even if it's not the "healthy" choice. "The key is to be mindful; eat the candy slowly, savor it," said Diana Gariglio-Clelland, a registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements. "Halloween comes once a year, and if you're really craving candy that you typically avoid, I say go ahead and enjoy it."