Buy Healthier Halloween Candy: 6 Satisfyingly Sweet Options

Candy, almost by definition, is no health food — but with Halloween fast approaching, it’s helpful to know which sweets are the best bets for keeping our kids healthy and happy.

One of the most vital parts of a balanced diet is to keep candy consumption at a moderate level. Having these satisfyingly sweet treats on hand will keep your kids indulged, satisfied, and safe from health risks.

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All-natural candies

Unreal Candy is a relatively new brand — it has to be, considering its health-conscious views of candy-making (as health-conscious as such views can be, that is) were inspired by the idea of a 13-year-old boy.

Unreal’s refreshing approach to candy involves non-GMO ingredients and grass-fed dairy; the treats are also free of corn syrup, artificial ingredients, and preservatives. Take Unreal’s “The Smooth One” bar, containing nougat and caramel draped with milk chocolate. The bar contains 200 calories and 17 grams of sugar. A Milky Way bar has comparable components but contains 240 calories and 31 grams of sugar.

Currently, Unreal has five chocolate products available, with plans to roll out more soon. Other brands, such as Amy’s, OCHO, and Sweetriot, offer similar naturally sourced ingredients in their sweets.

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Peanut butter candies

If a chocolatey peanut butter snack is your craving, go with a Hershey’s Reese’s, containing 105 calories and 10.5 grams of sugar per standard-sized cup. Plus, being made with authentic peanut butter, each full-sized cup also contains 2.5 grams of protein. If you opt to purchase Reese’s miniatures, these sweet delights contain about 44 calories and about 4.5 grams of sugar each.

For an organic peanut butter-chocolate candy variety and a nutritional step up from those mainstream brands, try Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. Each full-sized cup contains 100 calories, 8 grams of fat, and just 7 grams of sugar.

Overall, it’s best to spring for either of these brands over a Nestle Butterfinger, which contains 270 calories and 29 grams of sugar.

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Fruit candies

Fruit candy has its own place in our hearts, and there is a wide variation in healthiness among this genre of sweet. A full bag of Skittles contains 230 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, and a jaw-dropping 42 grams of sugar (that’s slightly more sugar than a full can of Pepsi). You’re much better off choosing a roll of Starburst: this candy contains 130 calories, 0 grams of fat, and 22 grams of sugar.

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Chocolate candy

Sometimes, nothing says satisfying like a standard, no-frills chocolate bar. The most health-friendly bet in this case is dark chocolate candy. Dark chocolate contains nutritional benefits that are lacking in milk and white chocolates, says WebMD. The dark variety retains more of the antioxidant-rich cocoa bean’s original character and has even been shown to lower blood pressure.

This is where straightforward — and delicious — treats like Hershey’s Special Dark come into play. Although a full-sized Hershey’s Special Dark bar is comparable in calorie and sugar contents to a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar (they contain 190 calories and 21 grams of sugar, and 210 calories and 24 grams of sugar, respectively), dark chocolate will always edge out its lighter counterparts.

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Lollipops and hard candies

Lollipops and hard candies tend to be easier to consume in moderation, given that they can be quite time-consuming to enjoy. Still, these super-sweet suckers have their nutritional downfalls: a Charms Blow-Pop, for example, contains three times the calories and 2 grams more sugar than a Jolly Rancher. Opt for a few Jolly Ranchers to get more sweet minutes of enjoyment out of your hard candies.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

Minty candies

Feeling minty? A York Peppermint Patty is somewhat smaller than most of its candy counterparts, giving it an automatic nutritional leg up (we did say to enjoy these in moderation earlier, didn’t we?) — plus, it’s draped in that antioxidant-rich dark chocolate that we all love. On the other hand, one serving of Junior Mints (16 pieces) contains 30 more calories and 7 more grams of sugar than a full-sized York Peppermint Patty.

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