Yes, there is such a thing as *healthier* Halloween candy. These are our contributing nutrition editor's top picks from 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 Health's contributing nutrition editor, Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, for her favorite Halloween treats that, if not technically healthy, are at least 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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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.
Canada True 100% Pure Maple Syrup 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."
Unreal Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars
Instead of Mounds
"These mini treats are a call back to the fun sized Mounds I cherished as a kid, but they're made with just a few simple ingredients: organic coconut, organic cassava syrup (cassava is a root vegetable), and organic dark chocolate. They're free of corn syrup, artificial flavors, and preservatives, and boast the minerals and antioxidants found in dark chocolate."
Bear Real Fruit Yoyos
Instead of Fruit Roll-Ups
"Most kids will scoff at getting a fruit snack in their trick or treat bag, but these goodies look and taste like special treats. And the only ingredients are real fruit and vegetable extract for color—no preservatives or any additional additives."
YumEarth Organic Candy Corn
Instead of candy corn
"This is candy, and the first ingredient is cane sugar, but this version is made with all organic ingredients and is free from the artificial additives used in traditional candy corn, like man made colors and artificial flavors. Instead YumEarth includes recognizable ingredients, like turmeric, honey, and rice protein. One note though: they aren't vegan or allergen free. Organic egg white powder is one of the ingredients."