Didn’t give away all of your Halloween candy to the neighborhood kids last night? Never fear. Snacking on sweets doesn’t have to be a waste of calories–if you time it right. CorePerformance.com‘s Danielle LaFata explains:
The key isn’t so much which candy, but when you eat it. In the two-hour period after exercise, your body is busy replenishing carbohydrate stores. So if you inhale a traditional treat like candy corn after a hard workout, your body will use the carbs more efficiently to replace lost nutrients and help you recover from exercise, rather than storing it as fat.
If you compare, say, candy corn to a typical sports drink or ready-to-drink protein shake, you’ll find that they both contain similar amounts of sodium—about 110-115 mg sodium for an 8-ounce sports drink or 1 serving of candy corn (22 pieces). But look closely at the nutrition labels. Candy corn has more calories and carbs, plus it lacks protein, a key to building muscle. You could grab a few mini Snicker bars from your Halloween stash, but they won’t provide nearly as much protein as a typical shake, and they’re loaded with fat.
Bottom line: If you’re going to finish off the leftover Halloween candy anyway, eat it after your workout. Post-workout nutrition is an important habit, and if it takes candy to help you establish that habit, so be it. Just don’t make candy corn your default post-workout meal. It lacks important nutrients, and it’s easy to overindulge on sweet candy so the calories will add up—and fast. Plus, it may upset your stomach. Try to stick with whole foods, or grab a ready-to-drink shake. Eat before you train, as well, to boost energy levels and stay sharp throughout your workout.
Looking for healthier Halloween candy options? Check out these 7 healthier alternatives to Halloween candy.