With nearly 600 million pounds of candy sold each year around Halloween, it’s almost impossible to resist a sweet treat here and there. But by choosing these healthier alternatives, suggested by Mom and Nutritionist Rania Batayneh, MPH, author of the forthcoming book, The One One One Diet, you can skip out on extra calories, sugars, fat, and unhealthy ingredients.
Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
If you can’t resist the flavor combination of chocolate and peanut butter, skip the Reese’s and opt for Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. With 8 grams of fat per cup, they might be a little high on the fat count--but most of it is the healthy monounsaturated kind that can help kill cravings for more sugar binges. And you can feel good about giving these sweets to your kids: they’re made with organic dark chocolate and organic peanut butter and contain no hydrogenated oils or preservatives. Pick up a few singles or grab a whole bag to hand out at Halloween at Whole Foods, REI, or WalMart. (Click here to find local retailers.)
For Halloween-goers looking to hand out a healthy treat that actually looks and tastes like candy, Magic Straws are a wonderful option. Magic Straws come in all kinds of candy flavors including Chocolate, Cookies & Cream, Neapolitan and Orange Cream. “The ‘trick,’" says Batayneh, "is to enjoy this ‘treat’ with milk!” Magic Straws have only 17 calories and up to 40% less sugar than pre-flavored milks. And unlike other sweetened beverages and candy, they don't contain high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors. They’re also allergy friendly, containing no lactose or gluten--and they're also mess-free!
Organic Milk Chocolate Bug Bites
If “fair trade” and “organic” are the buzzwords you’re looking for come Halloween, pick up a bag of Endangered Species Organic Milk Chocolate Bug Bites. The chocolate itself is certified organic, kosher, and gluten-free, and the cacao is sourced from ethically traded cacao farms. Plus, each chocolate comes with a “fun and educational” insect trading card--and as a bonus for animal-lovers, their purchase supports species and habitat conservation. Click here to buy online.
If you're looking for a healthier--and sugar-free--Halloween treat option, look to Pirate's Booty! Pirate's Booty is a baked, all-natural snack that is kid and mom approved. It has less fat and fewer calories than traditional Halloween candy and zero grams of sugar. “Pirate's Booty is also gluten, peanut and tree-nut free, so it's safe for trick-or-treaters or classmates with these common food allergies,” says Batayneh. This year, Target stores nationwide are offering a limited-edition Pirate's Booty Aged White Cheddar Halloween 20-pack of half-ounce, 65-calorie bags - Booty-ful!
Unreal candy bars are a healthier alternative to typical Halloween offerings like Milky Ways and M&Ms. In a variety of flavors, like candy coated chocolate peanuts, peanut butter cups, and chocolate caramel nougat bar, the bars and candies contain fewer calories and grams of sugar and more protein and fiber. Plus, they’re made without GMOs, corn syrup, artificial flavorings or preservatives and are gluten-free. Buy online or look for UNREAL at select Target locations.
For a healthier alternative to candy, look for protein- and fiber-boasting snacks like KIND Mini's. “These whole nut and fruit bars provide a little bit of natural sweetness from fruit and honey and the same crunchy satisfaction that you might get from a candy bar - but without all the artificial ingredients and added sugars!” says Batayneh. With their slightly sweet taste and nutty texture, KIND Mini’s are a perfect swap for Snickers or Milky Way bars. Check them out online at KINDsnacks.com.
Happy Squeeze TREAT Caramel Apple
If you’re looking to get your caramel fix this Halloween, check out Happy Squeeze TREAT Caramel Apple. These treats boast more than a delicious taste: one serving contains one half cup of fruit and only 100 calories. As a bonus, your hands won't get sticky! Praises Batayneh, “it's a delightful, guiltless dessert that's great for satisfying your Halloween sweet tooth that can also be enjoyed by adults and children alike!