Yes, there is such a thing as *healthier* Halloween candy. These are our contributing nutrition editor's top picks. Bonus: You can buy 'em all on Amazon.
Halloween without candy isn't Halloween at all. But many of the most commonly-distributed varieties are packed with artificial flavors and ingredients you can't pronounce. So we asked our contributing nutrition editor, Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, for her favorite Halloween treats that, if not technically healthy, are at least are healthier. In other words, they're packed with simple and recognizable ingredients, aren't total sugar bombs, and might even deliver some good-for-you nutrients like vitamin C and fiber. Below, Sass's top picks that are sure to be a hit with trick-or-treaters.
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Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a consultant for the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets.
YumEarth Naturals Gummy Bears
Instead of gummy bears
If gummy bears are your go-to, order these instead. "Rather than being made with high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors, they're sweetened with brown rice syrup, cane sugar, and fruit juice, and are colored and flavored naturally using ingredients from carrots and saffron," says Sass. Also good? One snack pack provides 100% of your daily target for vitamin C.
Surf Sweets Organic Spooky Shapes
Instead of Swedish Fish
Fun shapes? Check. Anything-but-spooky nutritional profile? Also check. "They're sweetened with organic fruit juice and cane sugar, and flavored and colored naturally, rather than artificially," notes Sass. And like the Yum Earth gummies, they give you a boost of vitamin C, too—over 90% of your daily recommended intake, to be exact.
Alter Eco Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Bar
Instead of a Hershey's bar
A classic chocolate bar is a must on Halloween night, and Sass swears by this brand, which is organic and fair trade. "It's antioxidant and mineral-rich, and melt-in-your-mouth amazing," she raves. One serving gives you 4 grams of fiber, and dark chocolate has also been shown to have good-for-you benefits (think supporting your brain and heart health, and even triggering a mood boost).
MadeGood Vanilla Crispy Squares
Instead of Rice Krispies Treats
"This modern version of a Rice Krispies Treat is made with ingredients you can pronounce," says Sass. Bonus: You'll actually be sneaking in veggie powder from spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, and shiitake mushrooms with every yummy bite. "They're also soft, sweet, nut free, gluten free, vegan, and non-GMO, but seriously delicious."
Theo Chocolate Almond Butter Cups
Instead of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Smooth, creamy nut butter in a chocolate-y coating? You can get your fix here. "The quality and decadence of these almond butter cups is tops, but they're made with simple, real food ingredients and no unwanted additives," Sass says. More to love: They're vegan, organic, and soy free, and deliver 4 grams each of fiber and protein, and 15% of your daily iron needs.
Nothing But the Fruit Real Fruit Bites
Instead of Haribo Raspberry Gummies
These gummies do the seemingly impossible: contain a full serving of fruit but still manage to taste like candy. (Yes, please!) "I love the chewy texture, but the ingredients are ultra simple: nothing but picked, pureed, and pressed fruit," Sass tells us. "They're all natural, vegan, gluten free, and a good source of antioxidants."
UNREAL Cups Chocolate Dark Crispy Halloween
Instead of Reese's Crunchy Peanut Butter Cups
Those who crave crunch will love these nut butter bites from Unreal. "In addition to being dark chocolate, these peanut butter cups are free from artificial additives and soy lecithin, and are vegan, gluten free, non-GMO verified, and just as tasty as traditional candy," Sass says. As for the crispy factor? It comes from quinoa.
Premium Canadian Maple Sugar Candy Lollipops
Instead of lollipops
"The only ingredient in these pops is pure maple syrup, nature's fall treat," says Sass. "In addition to providing some antioxidants, maple syrup is a good source of manganese, a mineral that helps produce collagen and support skin and bone health."
Larabar Crunchy Nut & Seed Gluten Free Bar
Instead of Snickers
Nothing is more addicting than that combo of nuts and chocolate, but these Larabars will satisfy your crunch cravings in a healthier way, thanks to ingredients like almonds, sprouted chia seeds, cacao nibs, and unsweetened coconut. "Its simple, clean ingredients also include honey and maple syrup, along with coconut oil, cocoa powder, and sea salt," says Sass. "It tastes like a treat, but you can feel good about putting it in your body."