There are more ways to navigate the temptations of Halloween candy binging than you might think. Looking for healthier options with nutrient-dense ingredients and less sugar can help you enjoy the spooky season–without feeling like you’re missing out on the food fun.
1. Peanut Butter
Candy containing peanut butter has protein and fat to help keep you satiated for longer. Two tablespoons of peanut butter contain 16g of fat and 8g of protein.
A fun option is Skinny Dipped Peanuts, which have no artificial ingredients and are gluten-free. They come in individual packages and a variety of flavors. Flavors include dark chocolate peanut butter, lemon bliss, and sea salted caramel. Better yet, Skinny Dipped is a woman-owned business.
2. Dark Chocolate
Another great option is candy with dark chocolate. That’s because dark chocolate contains antioxidants. Though less sugary than milk chocolate, it still has a sweet candy taste. So indulge in a treat while protecting your cells from free radicals (with antioxidants). Dark chocolate can even improve exercise performance.
3. Low Glycemic Index
One reason health-conscious folks strive to avoid candy is the sugar crash. Foods with lower glycemic indexes, like chicken or fish, make fuel from food last longer.
The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a food will increase your blood sugar.
Foods low in sugar and carbohydrates are good low-glycemic index choices. For example, choosing candy with almonds and cashews can help maintain stable blood glucose. Nuts are also chock full of healthy essential vitamins and minerals.
This is all good news for your brain power and metabolism. Low glycemic foods contribute to positive cardiometabolic effects in diabetic individuals. Benefits included decreased inflammation, weight loss, and improved blood pressure.
4. Avoid the Artificial
Unfortunately, an exorbitant amount of candy in the U.S. contains added dyes and preservatives. Fortunately, there are natural (and just as delicious) alternatives.
Smart Sweets is a gummy candy brand with as little as 3g of sugar per bag. Yet, they still taste sweet and have zero Red Dye #40. That’s because vegetable juice is used for natural coloring. They come in various shapes and flavors, so you and your family can indulge without worry. Options include peach rings, gummy bears, and sweet fish (a healthier version of Swedish fish and my personal favorite).
Unreal peanut candy gems are a go-to for M&M lovers. They come in several flavors, including crispy quinoa and milk chocolate. Unfortunately, M & M’s contain many blue, yellow, and red dyes. Instead of artificial dyes, Unreal candy is dyed with beet juice. They’re also vegan! You won’t even miss M&M’s after you get hooked on Unreal. Add them with nuts to make a festive and lower-glycemic index trail mix.
5. Get Full on Fiber
One reason candy doesn’t fill you up is that it’s low on fiber. Try subbing in popcorn. It’s lower in calories and is a good source of fiber. Mix in dried apples for added fiber and sweetness. Or, try a cinnamon popcorn recipe. Cinnamon has a potent anti-inflammatory effect because of antioxidants.
Entice your family to eat real popped corn instead of candy corn. How do you convince them of the benefit? With no sugar crash, they’ll have more energy for pumpkin carving, costume creating, and trick-or-treating!
Some ways to incorporate more nutritious treats and lower-sugar sweets is by using the above recommendations as a guide. However you celebrate the spooky season, you can enjoy it fully without compromising your health.