Have you already purchased candy for Halloween? We all have our favorites: My kids love anything chewy and sticky, whereas I usually raid their stash for anything chocolate! You might be concerned about the sugar, fat and calories (not to mention additives like food coloring) are going to affect your kids over the next week or two. If you want to try to stock up on healthier Halloween treats, you’re not necessarily limited to being that neighbor who hands out apples and boxes of raisins. Here are some types of Halloween candy to keep in mind if you’re looking to make healthier purchases or separate the better-for-you treats from your kids’ stash:
Chocolate: Dark is Better
Healthfully speaking, dark chocolate is lower in sugar and better for overall health than milk chocolate. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants, which can have health effects such as lowering blood pressure and neutralizing free radical cells, which have been implicated in everything from diabetes to cancer. Consider giving out Mounds, York Peppermint Patties, Dove dark chocolate, Hershey’s Special Dark or other non-milk chocolate varieties.
Hard Candy: Long Lasting Flavor
If your kids are toddlers or preschoolers, this is not a good idea, because they can be choking hazards, but for older kids, consider giving them hard candy. These tend to last longer because kids suck on them instead of chewing them up, and they usually don’t contain any fat. Jolly Ranchers are a good bet. Also consider lollipops, or even Blow-Pops, which contain bubble gum in the center. Chewing the gum might occupy them enough to stave off cries of “can I have just one more piece?”
Boost Their Protein Intake
If you are giving them candy, you might as well make sure that they’re getting something good out of it. Snickers and Peanut M&Ms contain peanuts, which are a good source of protein. Of course, you do need to tread cautiously when it comes to peanut allergies; if you’re opting to give these out, have a peanut-free alternative to offer allergic trick-or-treaters.
All for One, One for All
Three Musketeers, because they’re filled with an airy nougat, tend to be lighter and less calorie-dense than other bite-sized chocolatey confections. A fun-size bar packs only 63 calories, 11 grams of sugar and 2 grams of fat.
As with anything else, candy is available in organic forms. My kids love Yummy Earth lollipops, which come in kid-pleasing flavors such as watermelon, mango and sour apple. These contain no artificial flavorings or food colorings, which is great for kids who tend to be sensitive to additives. You can buy 300 pops for about $30, which is a good deal.
No matter what type of candy you give out, try to keep things in perspective and remember that Halloween comes but once a year. Even if they overindulge for a few days, you can always toss whatever’s left over after the weekend!