The healthiest Halloween candy, ranked from ‘worst’ to ‘best’ for you
Emily DiNuzzo and Leah RockettoOct 20, 2017, 10:07 AM
M&Ms are low on the list, while Smarties rank pretty high in the health department. Wikimedia Commons
Healthy versions of your favorite junk foods can be great alternatives to the real deal. When it comes to indulging in the real thing, however, it’s always good to know the nutrition content. Halloween candy is no different so we ranked your favorite treats from least to most healthiest.
INSIDER spoke with registered dietitian Lisa DeFazio about how best to rank the sweets. She agreed that the sugar, calories, and fat are the best numbers to look at to determine how “healthy” these candies are.
We then did some investigative reporting: going to grocery store after grocery store to read the nutrition labels on the most common Halloween treats. We then compared the information for one serving size of either the fun, snack, or mini size available for each of your favorite sweets. It’s also important to note that this ranking doesn’t consider other relevant factors like sodium, protein, and fiber.
When it comes to making the healthiest candy choices, DeFazio recommended going for candies that have low to no fat. Typically, that means fruit-flavored hard or chewy treats.
See where your favorite chocolate, gummy, and hard candies rank below.
If the nutritional breakdown isn’t enough to scare you away frm this treat, the dental damages will. According to Prevention, caramel can easily get stuck between the teeth and cause plaque build-up. So if you do enjoy a Twix, remember to floss and brush your teeth afterwards.
21. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
The peanut butter is what give this candy its high calorie and fat content. That said, it also gives the candy some extra protein — 5 grams per serving, to be exact.
20. Peanut M&M’s
What keeps Peanut M&M’s from being the “least healthy” treat are the peanuts. These additions give the candy a protein boost — 3 grams per serving, to be specific. This will help full you up faster, making you less likely to plow through the entire trick-or-treat haul.
19. Nestlé Crunch
You wouldn’t think a candy bar made mainly of rice puffs would have so many calories. But what gives the Nestlé Crunch bar a bit of an edge are the ingredients. In 2015, Nestlé began removing artificial ingredients from its products, including this simple candy bar.
Although raisins are loaded with fiber and vitamins, according to SF Gate, they are also high in sugar. Combine their sugar content with the sugar content of chocolate, and you have a treat that exceeds the American Heart Association’s daily recommendation of 25 grams of sugar.
17. Almond Joy
Coconut, a key ingredient in Almond Joy, is high in fiber, according to LiveStrong. Additionally, Greatist reported that the almond addition give the candy an extra dose of fiber and unsaturated fat thanks to the almond center.
According to Time, Snickers contain the “holy trinity of confection” — chocolate, caramel, and peanuts. Unfortunately, that combo is also what makes it a less-than-healthy treat.
15. Plain M&Ms
M&Ms are pretty middle of the road when it comes to calories, sugar, and fat content. But an upcoming change to the product could make it a “better” option. In February 2016, Mars announced that is would be removing all artificial colors from it’s candies — including M&Ms. Though this process will take about five years, it could be a long-term health benefit.
14. 3 Musketeers
The heroic candy is relatively high in calories and sugar, but lacks any of the traditional additions — caramel and peanuts, for example — that make many chocolate bars high in fat. So if you’re looking for a low-fat chocolate fix, 3 Musketeers is a good option.
13. Baby Ruth
One again, peanuts give this candy a slight edge, adding two grams of protein to it’s nutritional info. That said, the caramel and nougat are tough on teeth so be sure to give yours a good brushing afterwards.
Lower in sugar and fat than many of its counterparts, Butterfingers make for a good choice. Well, unless you hate when treats get stuck in your teeth. Butterfingers are notorious for this: There is even a Reddit threaddetermined to find a way to get Butterfingers out of your teeth.
11. Milky Way
The nutritional content on these is nothing compared to that of the original Milky Way. According to Mental Floss, the original Milky Way was more than 3 ounces — almost twice the size of the current candy bar.
10. Kit Kat
Kit Kats are the healthiest candy bar, probably due to the fact that the main component is a light wafer. And if you’re lucky, you may receive one of the 200 flavors of Kit Kats on the market.
Although they are low in fat, Skittle’s sugar content make them a less healthy treat. That said, a 2014 article from Reuters noted that the fruity candies are a good, quick fix to increase blood sugar levels in kids with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
8. Brach’s Candy Corn
Despite what many think, Science Daily reported that candy corn isn’t made solely of sugar. It’s also comprised of corn syrup, confectioner’s glaze, salt, dextrose, gelatin, sesame oil, artificial flavor, honey, and several dyes. Though the low fat content may make this treat appealing to some, the excessive ingredients may turn others off.
7. Tootsie Rolls
If you’re looking to satisfy your chocolate craving while maintaining a low-fat lifestyle, then Tootie Rolls are your best bet. In fact, according to Prevention, one woman relied on the candy to help lower her cholesterol without giving up goodies.
Although there are eight varieties of Starbursts, according to the candy’s official website, the shareable sizes only come in Original and Very Berry. Regardless, this is a low-fat, satisfying option.
5. Laffy Taffy
Laffy Taffy Mini Bar: 140 calories, 19 grams of sugar, 2 grams of total fat m kasahara/Flickr
This Willy Wonka creation may be healthy in terms of calories, but it’s not healthy as far as dental health is concerned. According to Sunnyside Dentistry, taffy is the worst candy for your teeth because it sticks — and stays — in your mouth, increasing your risk for cavities.
Like Laffy Taffy, Airheads are a sticky treat that can damage your teeth. That said, they are low in calories and sugars, making them a healthier option. Airheads are also vegan, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA.)
3. Sour Patch Kids
They’re sour, they’re sweet, and they’re relatively healthy.
That said, they can also do a number on your teeth. According to the Huffington Post, sour candies have a high acidic content, which can break down tooth enamel. Be sure to brush your teeth immediately after to prevent this from happening.
2. Tootsie Pops
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? According to several experiments, which were reported by the official Tootsie Pop website, anywhere for 144 to 411. This is partially why this is one of the “healthiest” Halloween treats: Because of the time it takes to finish, you can’t overindulge.
Not to mention, Tootsie Pops satisfy a two cravings in one treat. How nice is that?
Low in calories, sugar, and fat, Smarties are the clear winner when it comes to healthy candy. But, let’s be honest, they’re kind of boring and don’t appeal to everyone.
Ultimately, if you’re going to eat candy, you should eat something you actually want and will enjoy— regardless of calories. As long as you don’t eat the whole bag in one sitting, eating any treat on this list is a healthy decision.
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