How many calories in a regular size candy cane?

Candy canes are a popular holiday treat, but many people wonder just how many calories are in one of those minty sticks. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at candy cane calories so you know exactly what you’re consuming when you indulge in this festive favorite.

The Basics on Candy Canes

First, let’s cover some candy cane basics. Candy canes are made from sugar, corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors, and sometimes cream of tartar. They have a hard, crunchy texture on the outside and a soft, chewy center. The traditional candy cane is peppermint flavored and has red and white stripes.

Candy canes come in a range of sizes, from mini candy canes that are just a couple of inches long to giant candy canes that are over a foot long. For this discussion, we’ll focus on regular sized candy canes, which are typically about 6 inches long.

Candy Cane Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

To determine how many calories are in a candy cane, we need to look at the ingredients and nutrition facts panel. Here is the typical nutrition information for a regular 6 inch candy cane weighing around 28 grams:

  • Calories: 140
  • Total Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 35mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 34g
  • Sugars: 32g
  • Protein: 0g

As you can see, a regular candy cane contains about 140 calories, almost all of which come from sugar. There is very little fat, sodium, or protein. The main ingredients are sugar, corn syrup, artificial flavorings, and colorings.

Candy Cane Calorie Breakdown

Now let’s break down those 140 candy cane calories a little more:

  • 34g carbohydrates x 4 calories per gram = 136 calories
  • 32g sugars x 4 calories per gram = 128 calories
  • 0g fat x 9 calories per gram = 0 calories
  • 0g protein x 4 calories per gram = 0 calories

This shows us that over 95% of the calories in a candy cane come from carbohydrates, specifically sugar. The small amount of remaining calories are from the non-sugar carbohydrates like corn syrup.

Calorie Comparison to Other Holiday Candies

How do candy cane calories compare to other popular holiday candies? Here is a calorie comparison per piece:

Candy Calories
Fun size candy cane (4 inches) 93
Regular candy cane (6 inches) 140
Hershey’s Kiss (1 piece) 22
Mini candy bar (fun size) 40-80
Gingerbread cookie (2 inches) 60

As you can see, a regular candy cane is one of the more calorie-dense holiday candy options, containing about 140 calories per piece. By comparison, a fun size candy bar averages around 60 calories and a Hershey’s Kiss just 22 calories. So be mindful of portion sizes if you’re indulging in candy canes this holiday season!

Variables That Affect Candy Cane Calories

Keep in mind that the exact number of calories in a candy cane can vary depending on:

  • Size – A larger candy cane will have more calories than a smaller one.
  • Brand – Different brands may have slight variations in ingredients and nutrition content.
  • Flavor – Non-peppermint flavors often have more added sugar.
  • Ingredients – Homemade candy canes may use different ingredients than mass-produced candy canes.

The nutrition facts panel will give you the most accurate calorie count for the specific brand and size of candy cane you are consuming.

Ways to Enjoy Candy Canes in Moderation

Candy canes can absolutely be part of a healthy diet when enjoyed in moderation. Here are some tips for keeping your candy cane calories in check:

  • Opt for mini or fun size candy canes instead of full size.
  • Limit yourself to one or two candy canes per day.
  • Portion candy canes out into snack bags instead of keeping the whole box nearby.
  • Pair your candy cane with a glass of water or cup of tea.
  • Practice mindful eating and savor your candy cane slowly.
  • Don’t keep extra boxes of candy canes around the house after the holidays.

Healthier Ways to Enjoy Candy Cane Flavors

If you want to limit added sugars but still enjoy the flavor of candy canes, here are some healthier options:

  • Make a peppermint tea latte with stevia instead of sugar.
  • Add a few drops of peppermint extract to your morning yogurt or oatmeal.
  • Blend peppermint extract into a fruit smoothie.
  • Simmer cinnamon sticks and mint leaves in unsweetened almond milk for a creamy low-carb beverage.
  • Mix crushed candy canes into light whipped cream and use as a topping for sugar-free pudding.

The Bottom Line

A regular 6 inch candy cane contains about 140 calories, almost all of which come from sugar. Candy canes are higher in calories and sugar than many other holiday treats. Enjoy candy canes in moderation by sticking to small serving sizes, pairing them with water or tea, and keeping plenty of healthier peppermint-flavored options on hand. This allows you to indulge your holiday sweet tooth while maintaining overall balanced nutrition.

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