On this sweet holiday, avoiding sugar rushes and inevitable crashes may seem impossible, but we promise it’s not! Finding healthier candy and snacking options is key to unnecessary indulgences. But you don’t have to neglect your (or your kid’s) sweet tooth — all it takes is a little bit of effort to make healthier choices. When cravings hit, or you find yourself surrounded by sugar bombs, opt for a healthier choice like dark chocolate, which contains antioxidants and less sugar than milk or white chocolate. Lower-sugar candies, naturally sweetened candies containing real fruit juice and candies with short ingredient lists are all healthier options than your typical sugar-loaded milk chocolate candy bar.
Dehydrated fruit makes a great, lower-sugar, sweet snack as well.
Make the holiday fun with some homemade Halloween-themed snacks:
• Chocolate-dipped fruit: Dip dried mango, papaya or apricot pieces in melted dark chocolate to make bite-sized Halloween-hued treats.
• Ghostly fruit kebab skewers: Skewer strawberry and melon pieces with marshmallows, then draw eyes and a mouth on each of the marshmallows with a black food coloring marker. Spooky!
• Monster mouths: Quarter a green or red apple, then cut out a wedge from the skin side of each quarter. Fill the opening with organic peanut butter and then place yogurt-covered goji berries inside for the teeth. A festive and healthy Halloween snack for all.
• Spiced honey-roasted pumpkin seeds: After carving jack-o’-lanterns, roast your fresh pumpkin seeds with honey, chili powder, paprika, garlic and cayenne for a sweet and savory snack with a crunch.
• Dipped frozen bananas: Dip frozen banana chunks, on toothpicks, in melted dark chocolate before rolling in nuts, shredded coconut or sprinkles. Refreeze before serving.
• Trail mix: Easily make your own trail mix by combining your favorite nuts, sunflower seeds and dried raisins or banana chips. It’s a filling snack that’s packed with protein and has that perfect combination of crunchy, salty and sweet.
• Energy balls: In your food processor, pulse together dates, oats, nuts and seeds, then roll into balls to create a healthy and subtly sweet snack option.
• Ants on a log and peanut butter and banana toast: In a pinch, these classic standbys are a quick and easy go-to!
Candy made from organic and natural ingredients is easier for your body to process, often lower in sugar (so it won’t spike your glycemic index), and can have nutritional benefits you won’t get from other candy. When you’ve just got to have real, actual candy, make a beeline for these healthy candy options:
- Wedderspoon Organic Manuka Honey Pops are suckers made from natural ingredients, including honey, which is a superfood.
- Woodstock Organic Dark Chocolate Raisins are a great organic candy option that provides beneficial fiber and potassium from the raisins.
- SmartSweets Sweet Fish and Sourmelon Bites sate your craving for sugary gummies with just 100 calories and 3 grams of fat in the entire bag.
- Redvines Made Simple is made with real sugar and natural berry flavor.
Low-sugar and Low-calorie Candy and Snacks
There are lots of options when it comes to low-sugar and low-calorie candy and snacks. Consider these when you need a snack yourself, or even to pass out to trick-or-treaters:
• Dark chocolate has long been known to have heart-healthy benefits, so indulge without guilt in Endangered Species Strong + Velvety Dark Chocolate. This 88% chocolate bar has just 3 grams of sugar per serving and boasts 3 grams of protein. It’s a win-win!
• A favorite for kids and adults alike, Peanut M&Ms deliver protein and fiber from — you guessed it — the peanuts.
• Black Forest Organic Gummy Bears are made with organic ingredients, including real fruit juice, and contain just 70 calories per pack.
• Lakanto Monkfruit Sugar-Free 55% Chocolate Bar with Almonds is sweetened with natural monkfruit, which has zero glycemic index.
• Larabar Minis Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fruit and Nut Bars are gluten-free and vegan, and contain just 100 calories and 6 grams of sugar in each bar.
• Snyder’s of Hanover 100 Calorie Pack Pretzel Sticks offer a salty crunch to break up all the sweet.
These healthy Halloween sweets are as crowd-pleasing as they are festive, and won’t leave you with a sugar hangover:
• Caramel apples get a protein boost when rolled in coconut flakes or chopped nuts.
• Popcorn balls held together with peanut butter and honey instead of corn syrup are a surprisingly healthy treat.
• Pumpkin seed brittle utilizes the antioxidant- and iron-rich seeds for a nutrient boost.
• Crispy rice treats set the Halloween theme with the addition of orange food coloring (or use carrot juice as a natural food coloring!).
• Orange frozen yogurt or sorbet topped with blackberries makes for a festive orange-and-black treat. Bonus points for presentation if you scoop the fro-yo into half of a hollowed-out orange skin!
• Homemade popsicles with blended coconut milk, Greek yogurt, banana and pineapple are a completely natural sweet treat.