We already know that eating candy all the time isn’t exactly a health-conscious choice. Most are processed and filled with added sugars, giving it a pretty low nutrition-to-calorie ratio. Yet, every diet should leave room to fulfill once-in-a-while cravings, and Halloween certainly qualifies as a special occasion. If you find yourself yearning for some sweets this October, don’t feel guilty about having a piece of candy. Instead, reach for one of the healthier varieties below, and try to pass on the rest.
The Healthiest Halloween Candy
While these snacks certainly wouldn’t be considered superfoods, they pack a more powerful nutritional punch compared to other options. Here are a few varieties to try:
M&Ms already have an advantage over other candies: since there are lots of them in a pack, you’re more likely to take your time enjoying them as your snack, thereby fulfilling your craving with just one fun-size portion. If the colorful candies are what you’re craving, go for the peanut variety: the nuts have protein and fiber, which can help keep you fuller longer. And, a fun-size pack clocks in at just 90 calories.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Reese’s lovers, rejoice: the famous cups make the list of more nutritional candies, thanks to the protein-rich peanut butter. Instead of reaching for the double-cup package, consider purchasing a bag of the single-cup varieties. One cup has 110 calories and 2.5 grams of protein, so it won’t derail your healthy eating habits. Plus, you can distribute the rest to any trick-or-treaters who stop by, as Reese’s are a favorite among kids, too!
While you might think that the sugary caramel would land Snickers bars on the “bad” list, this candy is actually lower in sugar and higher in protein than most other types. Once again, we have peanuts to thank for the added nutrition. And, if you choose a fun-size bar, you can indulge in your chocolatey snack with just 80 calories and 9 grams of sugar.
The Least Healthy Halloween Candy
While no food has to be considered completely off-limits, be mindful when snacking on the candies below, as they fall at the very bottom of the list when it comes to nutrition.
With a whopping 22 grams of sugar in just 15 pieces, candy corn defines “empty calories.” Most candy lovers won’t be too dismayed, however, as survey data shows this Halloween staple is actually one of the most hated varieties of the season. If you’re hungry for something sweet, you could have two Reese’s or Snickers for the amount of sugar in one serving of candy corn.
Heavily processed, loaded with artificial flavors and coloring, and exceptionally sugary, there are many reasons why dentists loathe these sticky, nutritionally void candies. Not only do they leave you hungry for more since they have no protein or fiber, but they’re also likely to stick to your enamel, leaving you prone to tooth decay. If you just can’t shake the urge to have one, be sure to rinse and brush afterward.
Another sugar-rich snack with empty calories, Smarties have carbohydrates and sugar but lack any meaningful nutrients like fiber or protein. Although one roll is only 25 calories, you’re better off getting your sugar fix with something that has a little more substance.
No matter which Halloween candy is your favorite, the best way to enjoy an indulgence this time of year is to do so without feeling bad about it. Halloween only comes once a year, so snack mindfully and remember to fill up on lean protein, plenty of veggies, and fresh fruit during other meals to balance out your diet. That way, you’ll make sure your body is getting all of the nutrition it needs, and there will be plenty of leeway for a piece of candy here or there.