There’s something about Halloween that makes you feel like a little kid again. No matter how old I get, October will always be synonymous with cool costumes, cute, but spooky Halloween decor, and the best part—candy.
But if you’re trying to reach a health goal, candy can feel like it’s off limits—urgh. Halloween sweets can often be high in sugar, and low in good-for-you nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, and eating too much of it can result in the dreaded sugar crash, says Tamsin Jordan, a registered dietitian in New York.
“Eating large quantities of sugar in a short period of time can lead to rapid swings in blood glucose. This is particularly detrimental to your brain which is reliant on a constant, steady supply of glucose,” Jordan explains. The change in blood glucose levels can sometimescause sugar headaches, which feel a bit similar to hangovers.
But that doesn’t mean you have to skip out on all candy and munch on celery sticks instead. You can still have some chocolate and gummy worms, but just do so in moderation, or opt for the “healthier” versions of your favorite treats.
That can include Halloween candies that mark themselves as lower in sugar, dark chocolate (it’s loaded with antioxidants) as opposed to milk or white chocolate, or anything naturally sweetened with fruit and vegetable juice, says registered dietitian Lauren Minchen. You can also look for functional add-ins, like omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, and antioxidants from dried fruits or cacao, for some extra nutrition, she adds.
If you’re currently on the hunt for some better-for-you options, here’s a list of 24 Halloween candy options nutritionists love. You may have to take off the costume, but these options can stay in your pantry all year long. Mwahaha!
1. Golly Lolli
What’s more nostalgic than a lollipop? “These lollipops are lower in sugar than their traditional counterparts,” Jordan says. “They contain prebiotic fiber which is supportive of gut health. No artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, or preservatives.”
Per 2 lollipops: 30 calories, 0 g fat, 12 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 8 g fiber, 0 g protein
2. Malua Lemon Cashew Prebiotic Bites
“These tasty snacks contain green banana powder, a prebiotic fiber that feeds the good bacteria in our gut. They are also gluten-free with no added sugar,” Jordan notes. Plus, the bites taste like lemon meringue pie! I’m in.
Per 1 ball serving: 7 0 calories, 4 g fat (saturated fat 1.5 g), 5 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 50 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein
3. Highkey Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies
Jordan likes these low-sugar cookies for their wholesome ingredients, which include coconut oil and collagen. They’re also a better choice for people watching their glucose or carb intake. “These chocolate chip cookies are a good option if you’re looking for something sweet without the sugar and carbs,” Jordan says.
Per 7 pieces: 130 calories, 13 g fat (6 g saturated), 12 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 105 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein
4. Fun Sized Milk Chocolate M&M’s
Umm, a Halloween candy list isn’t complete without this chocolate staple. “My personal favorite healthy Halloween candy is M&M’s. I find that just three to four M&M’s can satisfy my sweet-tooth craving if I let them melt in my mouth and enjoy them slowly and mindfully, says Jessica Ivey, a registered dietitian. “The small snack packs help with portion control and have just nine grams of sugar each.”
Per fun size bag: 63 calories, 2 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 10 g carbs, 9 g sugar, 10 mg sodium, 0.3 g fiber, 0.7 g protein
5. York Peppermint Patties Miniatures
Mint chocolate lovers, this one’s for you.”I love York Peppermint Patties Miniatures, which are individually wrapped for ease and portion control. Each patty has just 50 calories and about nine grams of sugar,” says Ivey.
Per 3 patties: 150 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated), 33 g carbs, 27 g sugar, 50 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 1 g protein
6. SmartSweets Peach Rings
For those who can’t resist the gummy goodness of a peach ring, grab these from SmartSweets. “I love SmartSweets candy. This company has cut the artificial colors, sugar alcohols, and artificial sweeteners, and is a much better option when you want something sweet, says Eliza Savage, RD.
Per bag serving: 80 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 33 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 75 mg sodium, 28 g fiber, 0 g protein
7. Unreal Dark Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Gems
These chocolate-covered peanut gems will satisfy your cravings for something crunchy. “Unreal bites are great healthier-for-you candy options for those looking to satisfy a sugar craving, or make a smart swap for the typical Halloween go-to’s. Unreal also uses non-GMO, fair trade, sustainable ingredients!” says Savage.
Per serving: 140 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated), 19 g carbs, 15 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein
8. Surf Sweets Organic Fruity Bears Mini Bags
Add these gummy bears to your Halloween candy shopping list ASAP. “These organic gummies are vegan and gluten-free, and they get their color from natural sources like black carrots and turmeric. The half-ounce snack packs are 45 calories with eight grams of sugar and 35 percent of the day’s antioxidant vitamin C,” says Maggie Moon, RD.
Per 16-piece serving: 130 calories, 0 g fat, 32 g carbs, 23 g sugar, 120 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein
9. Numa Original Creme Good-For-You Nougat
Not only are these milky and chewy bites a tasty Halloween candy, but Numa is also women-owned and family-operated. Michen likes these candies because they are very low in sugar and contain natural ingredients and fiber, she says.
Per 2-piece serving: 110 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated), 18 g carbs, 8 g sugar, 1 g fiber, 40 mg sodium, 4 g protein
10. Bissinger’s Gummy Pandas
Who needs gummy bears when you can have these cute gummy pandas? “Sweetened with organic sweeteners and colored with fruit and veggie juice, these are a better option to satisfy that gummy craving! And they come in one to two-serving packages, so it’s easier to keep portions in check,” says Minchen.
Per 17-piece serving (strawberry mango flavor): 130 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 29 g carbs, 18 g sugar, 20 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 3 g protein
11. Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Think Reeses’ Cups, but made with dark chocolate instead. “Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups have about five grams less sugar per package than typical PB cups, and have all organic ingredients,” says Savage. “These products are not only better for you, but they are better for the environment, too. Justin’s cocoa is Rainforest Alliance-certified and they also use sustainably sourced palm fruit oil.”
Per serving: 220 calories, 14 g fat (7 g saturated), 20 g carbs, 16 g sugar, 120 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein
12. Woodstock Organic Dark Chocolate Raisins
While eating raisins as a Halloween candy might sound tragic, you’ll see it’s the next best thing when you have these chocolate-covered ones. “Chocolate-covered raisins can be a good healthy candy option, since they satisfy your sweet tooth while cutting back on added sugar and fat compared to other candies,” says Jodi Danen, a registered dietitian.
Per 1/4 cup serving: 170 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated), 27 g carbs, 20 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein
13. Ghirardelli 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate Squares
Looking for some candy you can share with those spooky trick-or-treaters? Here’s your pick. “Dark chocolate packs more brain-boosting polyphenols than milk chocolate. Plus, exposing young palates to darker chocolate may help them develop a lower sweetness preference,” says Moon. “Each square is about 60 calories with less than three grams of sugar and even contributes a little potassium and fiber in each bite.”
Per 4-piece serving: 230 calories, 20 g fat (12 g saturated), 19 g carbs, 11 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 3 g protein
14. Cocomels Sea Salt Coconut Milk Caramels
These aren’t your basic caramel bites. This version is made with notes of Madagascar vanilla. “When I want a candy treat, I reach for these decadently delicious Cocomel Bites,” says registered dietitian Lindsey Pine. “The dark chocolate-covered coconut milk caramels are vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, organic, and contain real ingredients rather than a bunch of chemicals and food dyes.”
Per 6-piece serving: 120 calories, 3.5 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 21 g carbs, 16 g sugar, 400 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 1 g protein
15. Ocho Organic Peanut Butter Minis
What’s better than chocolate and peanut butter thrown together into this better-for-you option? “These little chocolate peanut butter bars are made with organic ingredients, fair trade chocolate, and are certified gluten-free. They run about 70 calories per mini-bar with less than five grams of sugar,” says Moon.
Per serving: 210 calories, 14 g fat (6 g saturated), 18 g carbs, 17 g sugar, 80 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein
16. 3 Musketeers Mini Candy Bars
Whenever that candy craving hits, ask yourself what texture and taste most appeals to you in that moment, suggests Ximena Jimenez, a registered dietitian. “If fluffy and light is what you crave, a 3 Musketeers bar will satisfy. An extra bonus for me is that seven [minis] have just 170 calories. Remember to enjoy every bite of those pieces!”
Per 7-piece serving: 170 calories, 5 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 32 g carbs, 27 g sugar, 80 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein
17. Larabar Minis Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
“Larabars are one of my favorite sweet treats,” Jordan says. “They only contain natural ingredients, satisfying your sweet tooth without artificial sweeteners.” She also likes that the individual packing can help you exercise portion control.
Per 1 bar serving: 100 calories, 6 g fat, 12 g carbs, 8 g sugar, 45 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein
18. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Peanut butter is a great snack, but peanut butter covered in chocolate is an even better treat,” says registered dietitian Shamera Robinson. “The dark chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s are the perfect mix of sweet and satisfying. The chocolate coating offers just enough sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth and the creamy peanut butter center provides a hint of protein to satisfy your appetite.”
Per 3-piece serving: 200 calories, 12 g fat (6 g saturated), 22 g carbs, 18 g sugar, 110 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein
19. Almond Joys
Registered dietitian Emily Kyle calls this classic her “absolute favorite candy ever.” “As a die-hard coconut fan, I love the combination of the coconut flavor with the chocolate and the delicious crunch of the almond,” she says. “While it’s not much, the whole almonds do provide some vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fiber.”
Per bar: 220 calories, 12 g fat (8 g saturated), 26 g carbs, 20 g sugar, 50 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein
20. Ghirardelli Intense Dark Sea Salt Soiree Chocolate Squares
If Ghirardelli doesn’t already come to mind when you think about chocolate indulgence, it will after you taste this chocolate bar. “My favorite semi-healthy candy is Ghirardelli chocolate squares, specifically the dark chocolate sea salt with almonds,” says registered dietitian Heather Mason. “Nutritionally speaking, you get the benefit of antioxidants from the dark chocolate and also a tiny bit of protein and fiber from the almonds. I stash these in my desk and usually enjoy one to two squares per day as a post-lunch treat.”
Per 4-piece serving: 210 calories, 15 g fat (7 g satrated), 23 g carbs, 17 g sugar, 60 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein
21. Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Kisses
If you’re looking for a treat that won’t have you going overboard on calories and sugar, Danen recommends taking advantage of mini-sized candy options. “My favorite? A bag of dark chocolate Hershey’s kisses kept in the freezer for when those cravings hit. Dark chocolate has less sugar, is often dairy-free, and is rich in antioxidants that have been shown to reduce blood pressure and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease,” she says.
Per 7-piece serving: 150 calories, 9 g fat (6 g saturated), 20 g carbs, 17 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein
22. Unreal Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
When it comes to peanut butter cups, you can never have too many options. Jordan recommends Unreal’s peanut butter cups because the candy is made from “fair trade ingredients and tastes delicious.” Dark chocolate is also filled with antioxidants that help to reduce oxidative stress in the body, building up your immunity.
Per 1 cup serving: 80 calories, 6 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 8 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 40 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein
23. Dark Chocolate Raspberry Skinny Dipped Almonds
These treats are lower in sugar than other chocolate-covered nut candies and have a natural dose of fiber, healthy fats, and protein from the almond. These not only taste good, but they’re filling, too,” says Kelly Schmidt, a registered dietitian.
Per 1.2-ounce serving: 180 calories, 15 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 10 g carbs, 6 g sugar, 100 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 7 g protein
24. SmartSweets Fruity Gummy Bears
Chewy and yummy, these gummies may need a permanent spot in your pantry. “They’re sweetened without sugar alcohols, which can cause major gut distress, using stevia instead,” says nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition, Monica Auslander Moreno. “They also come in nice single-serve portions, which help you self-limit.”
Per bag: 90 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 33 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 15 mg sodium, 28 g fiber, 3 g protein
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