During Halloween season, there's no shortage of candy at your fingertips. It's everywhere: in your office, your house and every supermarket and drugstore.
With temptation all around, it can be easy to graze on sweets all day long. Instead, though, it's possible to indulge strategically.
The first rule: don't ever eat candy by itself, says Christy Brissette, a Toronto-based registered dietitian. "You want to have something with some protein and some healthy fat and fiber before you have anything that has simple sugars."
Eating more substantial food before candy helps slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, she explains, which in turn helps protect levels of blood-sugar-regulating insulin from spiking and then crashing. That's important, Brissette says, because research suggests that high insulin levels may be linked with obesity, Type 2 diabetes and even some types of cancer.
Pairing candy with real food is a must. But Brissette says there's also an even better way to minimize the damage of a trick-or-treat haul: pop a couple of pieces of Halloween candy with a post-workout protein shake.
"After a workout, your cells are basically looking to replenish themselves," she says. Physical activity burns through glycogen—a stored form of glucose—"and you can quickly replace that by having more of a fast-absorbing sugar," Brissette says. "You want to have that together with some protein that's going to help rebuild and repair any muscle tearing that happened during the exercise."