What Are The Healthiest Halloween Candies? (They're NOT What You Think!)

Posted by Grace McCalmon on

SPV_HalloweenCandy Three hundred and sixty-four days out of the year (give or take a couple of days) I usually walk through the candy aisle without a second glance, or avoid it all together. Yet, just a couple of days ago, I found myself in CVS, my arm being crushed under the weight of a basket piled high with bags of milk chocolate, sugar, artificial dies and flavors, featuring ingredient lists a mile long. Should I go for the Hershey’s, KitKat, and Twizzlers fun pack? Or the MilkyWay, Twix, and 3 Musketeers? What about Starburst, Skittles, and Reese’s? Maybe I should get them all? Of course, eating candy on a regular basis is not part of a healthy diet. Too much processed sugar can impair our insulin response, alter blood sugar levels, contribute to weight gain, and rob us of vitamins and minerals, among other nasty things. But sugar is just a nutrient, and can be tolerated in moderation, when balanced with other nutrients like fat and protein. And it’s Halloween after all! You don’t want to be the only house on the block giving out toothbrushes.

In an effort to stay healthy, while still enjoying the Halloween fun (and maybe a couple treats ourselves), we took a look at the 30 most popular Halloween candies, and ranked them from best to worst.

 In this case, “best” doesn’t exactly mean “healthy,” but, rather, the “least scary” of these awesomely delicious evils. We tried to keep serving size around 40g, and ranked the candy in order of:

We’re willing to bet these rankings are not what you think!

 

BEST

1. Hershey’s Mini Chocolate Bars – 3 pieces, 38g

  • 190 calories
  • 11g fat
  • 21g sugar
  • 3g protein
  • 7 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Dairy
    • Soy
2. Payday Fun Size – 2 pieces, 40g
  • 180 calories
  • 10g fat
  • 16g sugar
  • 5g protein
  • 2g fiber
  • 2% calcium
  • 4% iron
  • 10 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Dairy
    • Soy
    • Corn syrup
3. Mounds Fun Size – 2 bars, 37g
  • 160 calories
  • 9g fat
  • 14g sugar
  • 2g fiber
  • 1g protein
  • 8% iron
  • 14 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Dairy
    • Soy
    • Corn syrup
4. Almond Joy Fun Size – 2 bars, 34g
  • 160 calories
  • 9g fat
  • 16g sugar
  • 1g fiber
  • 1g protein
  • 2% iron
  • 20 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Dairy
    • Soy
    • Corn syrup
5. Twix Fun Size – 2 bars, 47.6g
  • 250 calories
  • 14g fat
  • 17g sugar
  • 5g protein
  • 26 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Dairy
    • Soy
    • Corn syrup
    • Wheat
    • "Artificial flavor"
 

NOT-SO-BAD

  6. Butterfinger Fun Size – 2 bars, 40g
  • 180 calories
  • 8g fat
  • 18g sugar
  • 2g protein
  • 17 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Dairy
    • Soy
    • Corn syrup
7. Milk Duds – 13 pieces, 39g
  • 170 calories
  • 6g fat
  • 20g sugar
  • 2% calcium
  • 21 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Dairy
    • Soy
    • Corn syrup
8. KitKat Fun Size – 3 two-piece bars, 42g
  • 210 calories
  • 11g fat
  • 21g sugar
  • 3g protein
  • 16 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Dairy
    • Soy
    • Wheat
9. MilkyWay Fun Size – 2 bars, 34g
  • 160 calories
  • 6g fat
  • 21g sugar
  • 1g protein
  • 2% calcium
  • 20 ingredients
  • Contains
    • Dairy
    • Soy
    • Corn syrup
    • "Artificial flavor"
10. Nestle Crunch Fun Size – 2 bars, 40g
  • 200 calories
  • 10g fat
  • 22g sugar
  • 2g protein
  • 12 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Dairy
    • Soy
11. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Minis – 5 pieces, 39g
  • 220 calories
  • 13g fat
  • 23g sugar
  • 1g fiber
  • 4g protein
  • 4% calcium
  • 6% iron
  • 14 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Dairy
    • Soy
12. Whoppers – 18 pieces, 41g
  • 190 calories
  • 7g fat
  • 24g sugar
  • 1g protein
  • 6% calcium
  • 2% iron
  • 15 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Dairy
    • Soy
    • Corn syrup
    • "Artificial flavors"
13. York Peppermint Pattie – 1 piece, 39g
  • 140 calories
  • 5g fat
  • 25g sugar
  • 14 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Dairy
    • Soy
    • Corn syrup
 

WORST

14. Dots - 11 pieces, 40g

  • 130 calories
  • 0g fat
  • 21g sugar
  • 6+ ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Corn syrup
    • "Artifical flavors"
    • Red 40
    • Yellow 5
    • Blue 1 
15. 3 Musketeers – 3 bars, 45g
  • 190 calories
  • 6g fat
  • 30g sugar
  • 1g protein
  • 2% calcium
  • 14 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Dairy
    • Soy
    • Corn syrup
    • "Artificial flavors"
16. Twizzlers – 4 pieces, 45g
  • 160 cal
  • 5g fat
  • 19g sugar
  • 1g protein
  • 18 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Dairy
    • Soy
    • Corn syrup
    • "Artificial flavors"
    • Wheat
    • Red 40
17. BabyRuth Fun Size – 2 bars, 36g
  • 170 calories
  • 8g fat
  • 20g sugar
  • 2g protein
  • 20 ingredients
  • Contains
    • Dairy
    • Soy
    • High fructose corn syrup
    • “Artificial flavors”
18. Peanut M&M’s Fun Size – 2 bags, 36g
  • 180 calories
  • 10g fat
  • 18g sugar
  • 3g protein
  • 2% calcium
  • 2% iron
  • 28 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Dairy
    • Soy
    • Corn syrup
    • "Artificial flavors"
    • Blue 1 Lake
    • Red 40
    • Yellow 6
    • Yellow 5
    • Blue 1
    • Red 40 Lake
    • Blue 2 Lake
    • Yellow 6 Lake
    • Blue 2
19. Starburst – 8 pieces, 40g
  • 160 calories
  • 3g fat
  • 22g sugar
  • 0g protein
  • 10 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Corn syrup
    • "Artificial flavors"
    • Red 40
    • Yellow 6
    • Blue 1
20. Snickers Fun Size – 2 bars, 34g
  • 160 calories
  • 8g fat
  • 17g sugar
  • 1g fiber
  • 3g protein
  • 19 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Dairy
    • Soy
    • Corn syrup
    • "Artificial flavor"
    • Partially hydrogenated soybean oil (trans fat)
21. Tootsie Rolls – 13 minis, 40g
  • 140 calories
  • 3g fat
  • 19g sugar
  • 8 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Dairy
    • Soy
    • Corn syrup
    • "Artificial flavors"
    • Partially hydrogenated soybean oil (trans fat)
22. Jolly Rancher – 6 pieces, 36g
  • 140 calories
  • 0g fat
  • 22g sugar
  • 7 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Corn syrup
    • "Artificial flavor"
    • Red 40
    • Yellow 5
    • Yellow 6
    • Blue 1
23. Tootsie Pops – 2 pops, 34g
  • 120 calories
  • 0g fat
  • 20g sugar
  • 13 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Dairy
    • Soy
    • Corn syrup
    • "Artificial flavors"
    • Partially hydrogenated soybean oil (trans fat)
    • Red 40
    • Yellow 5
    • Blue 1
24. Skittles Fun Size – 2 bags, 30g
  • 125 calories
  • 1g fat
  • 23g sugar
  • 19 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Corn syrup
    • "Artificial flavors"
    • Red 40 Lake
    • Titanium dioxide
    • Red 40
    • Yellow 6 Lake
    • Yellow 6
    • Yellow 5 Lake
    • Yellow 5
    • Blue 2 Lake
    • Blue 1
    • Blue 1 Lake
25. M&M’s Fun Size – 3 bags, 40g
  • 190 calories
  • 7g fat
  • 26g sugar
  • 2g protein
  • 25 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Dairy
    • Soy
    • Corn syrup
    • "Artificial flavor"
    • Blue 1 Lake
    • Blue 1
    • Yellow 6
    • Yellow 6 Lake
    • Yellow 5
    • Red 40
    • Red 40 Lake
    • Blue 2 Lake
    • Blue 2
26. Charms Blow Pop – 2 pieces, 36g
  • 140 calories
  • 0g fat
  • 26g sugar
  • 11 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Corn syrup
    • "Artificial flavors"
    • Red 40
    • Blue 1
27. Sour Patch Kids – 16 pieces, 40g
  • 150 calories
  • 0g fat
  • 26g sugar
  • 11 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Corn syrup
    • "Artificial flavoring"
    • Yellow 6
    • Red 40
    • Yellow 5
    • Blue 1
28. Candy corn – 19 pieces, 39g
  • 140 calories
  • 0g fat
  • 28g sugar
  • 12 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Corn syrup
    • "Artificial flavor"
    • Yellow 6
29. Smarties – 6 rolls, 42g
  • 150 calories
  • 0g fat
  • 36g sugar
  • 8 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • "Artificial flavors"
    • Red 40 lake
    • Yellow 5 Lake
    • Yellow 6 Lake
    • Blue 2 Lake
30. Nerds – 3 tbsp, 45g
  • 180 calories
  • 0g fat
  • 42g sugar
  • 17 ingredients
  • Contains:
    • Corn syrup
    • "Artificial flavors"
    • Blue 1
    • Blue 1 Lake
    • Blue 2
    • Blue 2 Lake
    • Red 40
    • Red 40 Lake
    • Yellow 5
    • Yellow 5 Lake
    • Yellow 6
    • Yellow 6 Lake
  THE DEAL WITH ARTIFICIAL COLORS… There has been a lot of conflicting research around artificial colors. Some studies link certain colors with major health conditions, but much of this research has been limited to animal studies, and many studies used inordinately large dosages. A common phrase in toxicology is: “The dose makes the poison,” and, according to the FDA, the dosage of colors in these candies is safe for human consumption. In our opinion, occasional exposure to food dye is probably okay, but why not avoid it when you can?   AND SATURATED FAT… Although the type of fat contained in these candies is mostly saturated, recent research has shown that saturated fat may not be quite as bad as previously thought. Additionally, fat – any type of fat – will slow nutrient absorption, meaning it will help keep your blood sugar from swinging out of control. If you’re a sucker for the super sweet stuff (i.e. Nerds, Skittles, Smarties), try and eat these candies after a meal that contains fat.   THE TAKEAWAY Come November 1, when you’ve got kids with overflowing pillowcases, or a pumpkin-shaped bowl filled with leftovers, use this as your guide. Remember, we’re not saying these candies are “healthy,” but if you’re going to eat candy, it’s best to know what you’re eating so you can minimize the negative impacts.

Try and stick with the candies that contain the least amount of sugar, a little fat, and the fewest ingredients and additives.

If you know you or your family is going to be snacking on Halloween candy for a little while, there’s no need to worry and feel guilty. Just have a plan. Reduce processed sugar consumption in other meals and save your treats for once a day.  

When you do indulge, enjoy it.

Halloween only comes once a year.


Know anyone planning on giving out dental floss this year? Share this with them - the neighborhood will thank you! What are you giving out this year? What's your favorite Halloween indulgence? We'd love to hear how you have fun with this holiday in the comments below!    

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