Eating Candy the Smart Way

By Wild Oats Markets, Inc.

Everyone knows that a nutritious diet and a healthy lifestyle means getting regular exercise, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and abstaining from sweets, especially candy. Right? Actually, there are many ways to incorporate candy into a balanced diet and enjoy the tasty treats in our quest for good health. Besides, who wants to live in a world without candy?

Natural foods stores have many options, especially in the bulk foods department, that satisfy the most discriminating sweet tooth but contain natural ingredients and offer nutritional benefits at the same time. The aisles are filled with a large variety of carob-, chocolate- or yogurt-covered nuts, which contain protein, essential fatty acids for your heart and cholesterol-reducing elements. Granolas are a good source of fiber and antioxidants, and dried fruits and crystallized ginger offer numerous vitamins and minerals.

Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can be beneficial to your health by helping to protect against heart disease, high blood pressure and other health concerns. With compounds similar to those found in red wine, chocolate contains flavonoids that fight free radicals and increases blood flow by helping dilate blood vessels. Chocolate also contains small amounts of magnesium, a mineral essential for metabolic activity.

Just because there are nutritional benefits of some forms of candy, doesn t mean you should eat unlimited amounts of any kind of candy you want as part of a healthy diet. Some candies are made with artificial ingredients, including sweeteners, that you should be wary of. Certain artificial sweeteners can impact the digestive system and brain functions so opt for candies with natural ingredients instead.

Also, portion control is extremely important when enjoying sweet concoctions. Enjoy them in moderate amounts along with (not in place of) a diet of fresh produce, whole grains and lean proteins. Pay attention to serving sizes they may be smaller than you think. In fact, the serving size for the fudge recipe below is a 2-inch by 2-inch square. Enjoy!


2 c. sugar
½ c. flour
½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
4 eggs, beaten
1c. butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, sift together sugar, flour and cocoa. Add eggs. Add melted butter, vanilla and pecans. Pour mixture into 8 x 12-inch baking pan.

Line a roasting pan with a damp kitchen towel. Place baking dish on towel, inside roasting pan, and place roasting pan on oven rack. Fill roasting pan with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until firm.

Wild Oats Markets, Inc. is a nationwide chain of natural and organic foods markets in the US and Canada. The company operates 111 natural foods stores in 24 states and British Columbia, Canada. The company's markets include: Wild Oats Natural Marketplace, Henry's Farmers Market, Sun Harvest and Capers Community Markets.


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