Halloween Candy: Making Healthier Choices

| October 20, 2014 | 10 Comments

Kids going through candyHave 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.

Organic Options

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!

Comments (10)

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  1. Jennifer Nielsen says:

    My husband I decided to buy little mini Play-dohs for the kids this year!

  2. Ariela says:

    Excellent advice thanks, I’m supposed to be eating less sugar…according to my roommate. 🙂

  3. Carole Ingram says:

    Wonderful advice ! They get a lot of candy during Halloween time, I need to be better about limiting how much they eat at a time!

  4. Eileen says:

    Jennifer, what a GREAT idea! Playdoh is so fun for every age and lasts weeks or longer than a candy bar!

    I just studied with my 13 year old tonight for a health exam. One thing that was mentioned is that treats are better to eat at once and get it all over with, instead of doling out the kids treats for days on end…the lingering is harder on their teeth. Plus, I had to laugh about that. We didn’t get candy much as kids, so when we did at Halloween we gorged…and I always, ALwAYS got sick that night. My birthday happens to be the next day so I learned some important lessons about that…but took me a few years to figure it out. LOL.

    I had not thought much about the coloring in treats before the past few years. Our 6 kids didn’t have much for this kind of allergy or sensitivity but with tiny grandkids now I do think about it. All those dyes and preservatives now in all foods and candies can be dangerous considering allergies of this type is greatly on the rise.

    My favorite was always popcorn balls, but because is homemade and not packaged, is not a great idea to do unless the families know your well and trust you. I think maybe they are produced for sale but not anywhere NEAR as good as homemade fresh treats!

  5. Giveaway Gal says:

    Great ideas! I sometimes give out chocolate covered raisins, my kids love them.

  6. Kelsey says:

    thanks for the information 😀 I think I will take back the candy I got for halloween and buy playdough and non candy items.

  7. sara m ford says:

    I don’t let my kids have sweets that much at all even soda so for Halloween I am not worried about healthier on just this one night. However after Halloween I only let them pick 5 out of there bag a day

  8. ANN*H says:

    wow these tips are great- never really thought about alot of them. we try to keep treats to a minumum for the kids . dont want any cavities or tummy aches on Halloween. I dont like to give hard candy to younger kids until their alittle older on count of a possible choking hazard.
    Good way to get protein in their diet with the peanut butter cups, just be careful of kids with peanut allergies. thanks for the tips

  9. shannon says:

    I read about a halloween tradition one family uses to cut their kids candy haul and not look like evil fun-sucking nazis: A “witch” moved to their neighboorhood, and requires every kid pay a candy toll so she doesn’t perform a “trick” on their home! They still get to have trick or treating fun, and keep some of what they collect.

  10. Fee (Phyllis) Roberts says:

    Thanks for this. I never knew there were better choices in sweets =D

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