The 6 Best and 5 Worst Candies for Your Health
Packed with artificial colors and flavors and pure sugar, these may take you back to when you were a kid, but they won’t satisfy.
17 Healthy Candy Brands To Buy This Halloween
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Despite all the spooky costumes, creepy crawly decorations, and scary movies, one of the most frightening parts of Halloween is the thought of what is lurking inside your favorite candies. Candy companies put the trick in trick or treat by stuffing their products full of added sugars, saturated fats, and artificial dyes and flavors. This isn’t to say you can’t enjoy your favorite candy brand from time to time, but with how much candy you and you’ll children will be exposed to in October, it’s understandable that you’d want a few healthy candy options to balance everything out.
One of the biggest concerns with popular candy brands is the amount of added sugar they contain. It is recommended that children and teens consume less than 25 grams of added sugar a day and that adults consume no more than 25-36 grams per day, but a small serving of 12 Sour Patch Kids has 24 grams of added sugar! Many parents are also worried about giving their children artificial dyes like Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, which are found in candies like Skittles, Starburst, Twizzlers, and Hot Tamales.
None of this information is to put a damper on your spooky spirit. You and your kids deserve all of the treats that Halloween has to offer, but we want to help you feel a bit more at ease when it comes to your indulgences this October. If you’re interested in Halloween candy that is healthier than many of the popular brands but still tastes delicious, check out our list of the following 17 healthy candy brands. Read on, and for some tips on candies you may want to limit or avoid, read up on these 12 Halloween Candies with the Lowest Quality Ingredients.
Magic Spoon Treats Chocolatey PB
Per serving : 130 calories, 6 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 85 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (7 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 11 g protein
Most known for their high-protein, zero-sugar cereals that allow consumers to enjoy the nostalgia of a bowl of cereal and milk without breaking their health goals, Magic Spoon has newly released a rice crispy-like treat just in time for Halloween! The Magic Spoon Treats, which come in Chocolately PB or Marshmallow, give you the same delightful flavors and textures of a rice crispy treat but with only one gram of sugar, seven grams of fiber, and 11 grams of protein in each package.
Unreal Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Per serving : 80 calories, 6 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 40 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (1 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 1 g protein
Children and adults can probably agree that one of the best things to get on Halloween is a classic sleeve of Reese’s Cups. However, the 16 grams of sugar for just two cups is enough to put a damper on your excitement before the night’s just begun. Thankfully, you can satisfy your peanut butter cup cravings with Unreal’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. The fact that each serving contains just five grams of sugar means you can indulge a little extra on Halloween night without all the fright of too much added sugar.
Gigantic Salted Peanut Butter Chocolate Bar
Per serving : 200 calories, 13 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 95 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (9 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 3 g protein
It’s hard to believe that you could have a chocolate bar that tastes delicious while also providing more grams of fiber than sugar. Well, with Gigantic’s Salted Peanut Candy Bar, you’ll be eating nine grams of fiber and seven grams of sugar, meaning you’ll be treating yourself to a chocolatey treat without breaking the sugar bank.
Smart Sweets Gummy Worms
Per serving : 110 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 70 mg sodium, 36 g carbs (9 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 4 g protein
You’ve most likely seen Smart Sweets on the store shelves before, as this brand is one of the better-known “healthy” candy brands. They offer a variety of candy options like lollipops, gummy beans, red vines, Swedish fish, sour gummies, and our personal favorite for Halloween—gummy worms. Unlike traditional gummy worms from Haribo, which have 14 grams of sugar per serving, the worms from Smart Sweets have only four grams! As if that weren’t enough to convince you, you’re also getting nine grams of fiber and four grams of protein per serving.
Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup
Per serving : 220 calories, 14 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 120 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (1 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 4 g protein
As we mentioned above, some of the Halloween candies on our list aren’t very low in sugar but are instead made with more trustworthy ingredients than other popular products. For instance, Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups still contain 16 grams of sugar per serving (which is how much you’ll find in Reese’s), but the ingredients list is relatively short and everything is certified organic. So, depending on what’s most important to you, Justin’s may be a great option for you and the kids.
YumEarth Halloween Candies
Per serving : 45 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 40 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 0 g protein
All parents have different concerns when it comes to their children’s trick-or-treat findings. While some are worried about the amount of added sugars or sneaky additives, others may be worried about allergens. YumEarth makes candy products and sells a Halloween Variety Pack, which is completely free of most common allergies such as nuts, gluten, peanuts, dairy, eggs, and soy. They also avoid artificial dyes and are considered non-GMO.
Beyond Good Salted Caramel Chocolate
Per serving : 150 calories, 10 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 30 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (2 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 2 g protein
Beyond Good chocolate bars are exactly that—they’re beyond just a tasty treat. They still contain eight grams of sugar, but parents will love the short six-item ingredient list: organic cocoa beans, organic cane sugar, caramel, organic cocoa butter, sea salt, and vanilla extract.
JoyRide Sour Gummies
Per serving : 80 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 85 mg sodium, 39 g carbs (20 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 0 g protein
It seems too good to be true, but JoyRide is truly as it says on the bag: an uncommon candy. With zero grams of sugar and a whopping 20 grams of fiber, the Sour Fruit Gummies from JoyRide are the candy to indulge in this Halloween season. Are sour gummies not your thing? You can try any of their candy options like their Berry Gummy Guppies, Peachy Mango Rings, or Red Licorice Twists.
Theo Sea Salt 70% Dark Chocolate Bar
Per serving : 160 calories, 11 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 100 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (3 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 2 g protein
When you want chocolate for you and the kids, Theo products are the way to go. Most of their bars still have a decent amount of sugar, including their Sea Salt 70% Dark Chocolate, but with only a handful of trustworthy ingredients (cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, salt) you can rest assured that this chocolate will be a reliable sweet treat. Along with a short ingredient list, this bar is gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, and soy-free.
SkinnyDipped Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter
Per serving : 80 calories, 6 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 40 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (
As you can see from our list, there are plenty of healthier alternatives to the classic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and choosing the best one for you depends on what your personal goals are. The SkinnyDipped Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups have only four grams of sugar per serving, and those who want to avoid sugar alcohols and Stevia will be happy to know these don’t contain either.
Tazzy Watermelon Lollipops
Per serving : 45 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (4 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 0 g protein
Tazzy candies are any parent’s dream when it comes to Halloween candy. Their Watermelon Lollipops have only five grams of sugar, have two grams of fiber, and are completely void of sugar alcohols, stevia, and corn syrup. The company also avoids the use of artificial dyes and instead uses vegetable juice for coloring.
nib mor Sea Salt Organic Dark Chocolate
Per serving : 80 calories, 7 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (2 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 1 g protein
A mini chocolate bar with only four grams of sugar and seven ingredients? Sign us up. Nib mor uses organic ingredients in their products, and these Sea Salt Dark Chocolate bars are non-GMO, plant-based, and good for kids who are gluten-free. Another perk? They’re individually wrapped, making them a perfect choice for Halloween festivities.
BEHAVE Sweet Stars
Per serving : 70 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 10 mg sodium, 36 g carbs (20 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 4 g protein
Whether you’re in the mood for something sweet or something a bit more sour, BEHAVE has you covered. Not only are BEHAVE gummies delicious, but they’re low in sugar and calories and extremely high in fiber, meaning they have low net carbs. Because of this, these candies are diabetic-friendly and won’t spike your blood sugar after eating them, and they accomplish this without using any artificial flavorings at all! 6254a4d1642c605c54bf1cab17d50f1e
Fruit-tella Strawberry/Raspberry Soft Gummies
Per serving : 90 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 70 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (4 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 0 g protein
The truth is, these Fruit-tella gummies won’t be for everyone. They’re still pretty high in sugar with 16 grams, but what puts them on our list is the fact that they’re made with real fruit purees. Parents who are concerned about the quality of the ingredients in their kid’s candy may like the fact there is real fruit involved, and that these candies are void of high fructose corn syrup.
Chocolove Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites
Per serving : 170 calories, 13 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 115 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (2 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 3 g protein
Just in time for Halloween, Chocolove released its Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Bites shaped like pumpkins. Even though these still contain nine grams of sugar, it’s better than the 17 grams you’d get with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkin. Not only that, but you’ll be avoiding the artificial flavors found in Reese’s as well.
Snack Owl Sour Novas
Per serving : 90 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 42 g carbs (8 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 0 g protein
You may be a fan of Sour Patch Kids, but we can bet you’re not a fan of the 27 grams of sugar inside. To get that same sour and sweet kick in a healthier form, try Snack Owl Sour Novas. These cute sour stars contain only four grams of sugar, but we will warn you that the candies do contain Blue #1 and Yellow #5, something you won’t see in other candies on the list. If that’s a concern of yours, you can try the BEHAVE Sour Bears or JoyRide Sour Gummies.
Alter Eco Dark Chocolate Truffles
Per serving : 80 calories, 6 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 0 g protein
You can rest easy this Halloween with a product like the Alter Eco Classic Dark Truffles. Soy-free, gluten-free, organic, non-GMO, and free of additives and artificial sweeteners, these truffles pack in a ton of delicious flavor for only four grams of sugar. They’re also individually wrapped and perfect for throwing into a trick-or-treat bag.
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The 6 Best and 5 Worst Candies for Your Health
Two registered dietitians share their picks for the healthiest and least healthy candy, so you can indulge smarter when a sugar craving strikes.
6 Candies That Are Better Options for Your Health
While there’s no such thing as healthy candy, here are some better-for-you treats to reach for the next time you have a craving for a something sweet.
When special occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, or Halloween roll around, the temptations for sweet foods become nearly ubiquitous. Amy Gorin, RDN, owner of Plant Based with Amy in Stamford, Connecticut, admits that given this reality, indulging can be difficult to resist. “That’s why it’s best to have an action plan in place to enjoy the candy in moderation,” Gorin adds.
Plus, there’s the fact that reaching for candy to satiate a sweet tooth may be in your genes anyway, says research. Another review suggested that planning for these indulgences may help you stick to healthy eating habits. So go ahead and embrace the sweet season — just do it in a smart way.
How to Include Candy in Your Healthy Diet
Store it strategically. Put candy out of sight, like in the back of your pantry, or in the freezer, says Gorin. When it’s not staring you in the face, “you’re not constantly tempted by it,” she says.
Plan for when you’ll indulge. Eating it as a planned part of dessert rather than when you’re running around or doing other things — like working, or driving in the car — will help you truly enjoy it. Of course, you can and should enjoy festive candy, but there comes a point where it loses its luster and you may be eating it out of habit, so get rid of it after a week, Gorin advises.
Choose your preferred treat. Yes, even regardless of the best and worst choices below! If you truly enjoy what you’re eating, you’ll be satisfied by it. That means don’t let “fat-free” labels or calorie counts sway you from what you truly know you want. Mia Syn, RDN, author of Mostly Plant-Based, puts it simply: The best candy choice is the one you can eat and enjoy in moderation.
Now onto the sweet stuff. Here are the healthiest (and least healthy) candies, per Gorin and Syn:
The 6 Healthiest Candy Options
1. UnReal Milk Chocolate Gems
“I’m really impressed with these,” says Gorin. “The candy contains no artificial flavor or color, and the coloring comes from natural sources, like hibiscus and turmeric.” Because these contain a fair amount of sugar, though, you’ll want to stick with the mini 0.42-ounce (oz) bags, which are available on Amazon and make the perfect single serving.
What’s Inside 140 calories per oz, 8g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 18g carbohydrate, 14g sugar, 3g protein
2. Endangered Species Dark Chocolate Bites
These chocolates are low on the sugar scale, and two squares contain 3 grams (g) of fiber, too. That’s because the high level of cocoa (88 percent) means the sugar content is lower. What’s more: “Research shows regularly eating a small amount of dark chocolate may help heart health by lowering risk of heart disease and stroke,” says Gorin. But again, be sure to enjoy in moderation, as these treats also contain saturated fat, which can instead be harmful to your heart if eaten in excess, according to the American Heart Association. The organization recommends limiting daily saturated fat to 5 to 6 percent of your total daily calories, which would be 13 g if you have a 2,000-calorie diet.
What’s Inside 120 calories for two pieces, 9g fat, 6g saturated fat, 8g carbohydrate, 2g sugar, 2g protein
3. Peanut M&M’s
It’s got peanuts, which means you’ll get protein, fiber, and good fats, which help prevent blood sugar spikes and overindulging, says Syn.
What’s Inside 90 calories per “fun-size” pack, 5g fat, 2g saturated fat, 10.5g carbohydrate, 9g sugar, 1.5g protein
Surprised? Although Snickers is relatively higher in calories than other candy, Gorin recommends a “fun-size” bar because it’s more likely to leave you satisfied, thanks to its filling protein. “It also has less sugar than some other candies that are almost entirely pure sugar,” she says.
What’s Inside 80 calories per “fun-size” bar, 4g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 10g carbohydrate, 9g sugar, 1g protein
5. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
The satisfying combo of protein and a small amount of fiber makes this another good pick, says Gorin. Plus, around the holidays, it’s easy to find single cups (usually they come in a pack of two), so satisfying your sweet tooth in moderation is easier.
What’s Inside 110 calories per PB cup, 6.5g fat, 2g saturated fat, 12g carbohydrate, 11g sugar, 2.5g protein
6. Blow Pop
For the nonchocolate lovers, a Blow Pop can be a practical pick. “It has less sugar than many of the other candies out there, and because of the gum center, you can enjoy it for longer,” says Gorin.
What’s Inside 70 calories per pop, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 17g carbohydrate, 13g sugar, 0g protein
The 5 Least Healthy Candy Options
1. Candy Corn
It has a reputation as being one of the most hated candies, and a September 2022 CandyStore.com survey on the best and worst Halloween candy suggested this festive confection is indeed the second-most hated — second to Circus Peanuts. But regardless of whether you agree, candy corn certainly isn’t the most nutritious way to satisfy your sweet tooth. “It contains more than double the sugar of a Snickers or Reese’s,” says Gorin.
What’s Inside 110 calories for 15 pieces, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 22g sugar
Yes, they’re lower in calories than many other candies, but those are purely empty calories, meaning “they have little nutritional value,” says Syn. “They give your body energy from carbohydrates (sugar) but lack the other essential nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals,” she says.
What’s Inside 25 calories for 1 roll, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 6g carbohydrates, 6g sugar, 0g protein
3. Gummy Bears
Again, it’s pure sugar, so it’s unlikely to keep you as satisfied as chocolate, says Gorin.
What’s Inside 100 calories for 13 pieces, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 23g carbohydrates, 14g sugar, 2g protein
4. Jelly Beans
The package may get you because it says it’s fat free, but unless you absolutely love jelly beans — and can keep your portion reasonable — they’re still just sugar, says Gorin.
What’s Inside 110 calories per oz, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 28g carbohydrates, 21g sugar, 0g protein
Packed with artificial colors and flavors and pure sugar, these may take you back to when you were a kid, but they won’t satisfy.
What’s Inside 60 calories per bar, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 15g carbohydrates, 11g sugar, 0g protein