Trick or Treat? Healthy Halloween Candy Options

Halloween tricks and treats can be very tempting, but knowing which candy choice are healthy can mean indulging without fear of spooking yourself on the scale November 1st.

Dietitian Gloria Tsang, author of the new book Go UnDiet: 50 Small Actions for Lasting Weight Loss and founder of nutrition network HealthCastle.com, explains that choosing the right candy can reduce the health impact of Halloween hauls. Tsang explains that differences in calories, sugar, and ingredients mean that not all candy is created equal. While no treat is exactly “good” for you, close analysis of some common choices reveals which are best from a nutrition perspective.

  • PayDay beats Reese Peanut Butter Cups
    Reese Cups contain polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR), a commercial emulsifier used to reduce cocoa butter. PayDays are the only candy examined that list peanuts, not sugar, as the first ingredient.
  • Kit Kat beats Twix
    These treats are similar in calories and sugar, but Twix includes a much longer ingredient list.
  • M&Ms beat Skittles
    Both contestants in this showdown contain artificial colorings and wax, but M&Ms edge out Skittles for offering a tiny amount of calcium and protein, and slightly less sugar.
  • Baby Ruth beats Snickers
    There’s no real winner here. Snickers loses the match-up simply because the portion is larger — leaving room for more calories.
  • Mounds beats Almond Joy
    Mounds has a shorter ingredient list, and skips the partially hydrogenated oil found in Almond Joys.
  • 3 Musketeers beats Hershey Milk Chocolate
    The Hershey bar contains PGPR emulsifier, like the Reese Cup, while 3 Musketeers actually includes real cocoa powder.
  • Whoppers beat Milk Duds
    Milk Duds are so sticky they pose a special threat to teeth. They should be avoided by anyone with dental issues. Whoppers are easier on teeth, and the smaller serving saves calories.

No matter which Halloween candies you give out, you can’t control what comes home in your child’s trick-or-treat bag. You can, however, control how many treats they eat at one time. Regardless of which treats they bring home, candy is still a “treat” and should be consumed reasonably. Limit your kids (and yourself!) to eating two or three small pieces of candy at a time.

Source: Halloween Candy: Healthy Options

One thought on “Trick or Treat? Healthy Halloween Candy Options

  1. Amy Marshall

    Okay, gross. Wax? I guess I’ve been turning a blind eye to candy all these years… I guess I should be glad I read this… didn’t really want to know I was eating wax. Thanks for the insight… Why oh why do we have to have food manufacturers who make stuff with so much harmful crap in it?! (My family had to order special candy, as one of our kids has an allergy to peanuts/sesame/pineapple, so I think we’ll mostly have stuff of a little higher quality… still, though…)

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