Food Fight: Which Halloween Candy is Healthier?
October 31st is Halloween, which means your sweet tooth will be kicked into overdrive. From chocolate bars, to lollipops, to licorice and candy corn, you are bound to have at least a couple of pounds of candy in your house before the night is through, (especially if you have kids and trick-or-treaters.)
If you are trying to watch your waistline, Halloween can be an especially difficult holiday. There is really no such thing as “healthy candy” but our dietitian can help you determine which well-known candy brands are better for you. In this food fight, it’s candy vs. candy in a battle of Halloween supremacy.
Round 1: Twix vs. Kit Kat
The battle between these rectangular bars pits caramel against wafer in a fight between two favorite candy brands.
In this round, however, one of these tasty treats reigns supreme with less saturated fat and fewer calories.
The Winner: Kit-Kat
“Neither of these bars are really that healthy, but Kit-Kat is the better choice,” says Christy. “Even though ounce for ounce they have 5 grams of saturated fat, Kit-Kat bars are still the better option.”
Twix bars also contain much more sodium.
A serving of three Twix bars has three times more sodium compared to an average size serving of Kit-Kat.
Round 2: Tootsie Rolls vs. Candy Corn
In this battle, these two Halloween favorites are bite-sized, but both pack an equal punch on your nutrition.
20 million pounds of candy corn are consumed each year, which makes it more popular than Tootsie Rolls. This battle, however, has to be declared a tie.
“You would have to eat about 26 pieces of candy corn to equal the same amount of calories you would get from eating 4 Tootsie Rolls, which is about 140,” says Christy.
“Both candies also contain a ton of artificial colors and flavors.”
If you are vegan or a vegetarian, you may want to avoid both. (Candy corn contains gelatin, which is an animal by-product, and Tootsie Rolls contain dairy.)
Round 3: Sweettarts vs. Smarties
So, is it better to be smart or sweet? In this case, it’s better to be a "Smartie."
The Winner: Smarties
“Smarties actually have about half the sugar and calories as Sweettarts,” says Christy. “Their size also makes them healthier. Since they are smaller, Smarties take longer to eat, which makes you feel like you are getting more, so you are likely to eat less.”
Each Smartie roll contains about 25 calories and five grams of sugar. A serving of eight Sweettarts contains about 50 calories and 13 grams of sugar. In this round, Smarties take the victory.
Round 4: Bubble Gum vs. Tootsie Pops
Is it better to chew bubble gum, or to lick your way to, essentially, a Tootsie Roll?
The Tootsie Roll itself may have won this battle, but inside a lollipop, the calories become a lot more haunting.
The Winner: Bubble Gum
“A piece of bubble gum has less than half the calories and sugar (25 calories, 5 grams sugar), on average, than one candy-coated Tootsie Pop (60 calories, 10 grams sugar),” says Christy. “Just one piece of bubble gum is enough to satisfy a sweet tooth, versus one entire Tootsie Pop.”
Round 5: Peanut M&M’s vs. Skittles
In this battle of bite-sized proportions, two of the most popular names in candy history are going one on one to see who comes out on top—is better to taste the rainbow, or indulge in chocolate and peanuts?
The Winner: Peanut M&M’s
“Even though Skittles have fewer calories than peanut M&M’s, that doesn’t necessarily make them the better choice,” says Christy.
Unlike Skittles, peanut M&M’s are lower on the glycemic index, which means they keep you satisfied longer, and don’t spike your blood sugar as high.
“Those sugary little Skittles can actually spike your blood sugar quite a bit,” says Christy. “This spike in your blood sugar causes you to crave them more, which makes you eat more of them.”
Even though our dietitian provided her recommendations on which Halloween candy is better for the holiday, none of these options are technically healthy. If you are on a diet, watch how much candy you eat this Halloween—your choices may come back to HAUNT you.