Skip to main content
take the reality check diet analysis take the reality check diet analysis

Seasonal Diet Tips

Explore our expert knowledge on topics such as healthy eating during the holidays, and how to live into a happier and healthier you in the New Year. Discover tips and tricks on how to avoid weight gain at holiday parties and while on vacation.

Your Guide to Healthy Halloween Candy

While there may not be a "healthiest" candy, there may be healthier candy choices to makes this Halloween. In this food fight, it is candy vs candy in a battle of Halloween supremacy!

Your Guide to Healthy Halloween Candy

While there may not be a "healthiest" candy, there certainly are options that surpass the others. This comes down to their ingredients produced with and nutrition, including grams of sugar.

So in this food fight, it is candy versus candy in a battle of Halloween supremacy! Your Halloween favorite not on the list? Read on to learn how to fit any candy or treat into a balanced diet.

Choosing Healthy Halloween Treats

From Skittles® to Snickers®, find out how Halloween favorites fall in the health ranks.

Round 1: SweeTarts® vs. Smarties®

Trick or treat! But is it better to be smart or sweet?

The Winner: Smarties®

While both attributes are desirable, being "smart" may be favorable this Halloween...

Smarties® actually contains about half of the sugar and calories as SweeTarts®. One Smarties® roll contains about 25 calories and five grams (g) of sugar. A serving of eight SweeTarts®, on the other hand, contains about 50 calories and 13 g sugar.

The smaller size of Smarties® is also favorable for this fight because, in a sense, Smarties® takes longer to eat. This may make you feel as if you are getting more bang for your calorie buck, and lessening the risk of overindulging.

Round 2: Jolly Ranchers® versus Skittles®

To be or not to be jolly this Halloween...?

The Winner: Jolly Ranchers®

Though both Jolly Ranchers® and Skittles® are simply nothing more than sugar and coloring, opening up that Skittles® bag may be game over.

A single Jolly Rancher® supplies near 25 calories and 4 g sugar while lasting for a longer duration. This dismisses the risk of indulging in 61 calories and 12 g sugar from a Fun Size Skittles® bag, which is almost three times the amount.

And not to mention, we all want to encounter jolly trick or treaters!

Round 3: Twix® versus Snickers®

Both Twix® and Snickers® are chocolate bars flavored in their own unique way. Twix® is stuffed with cookies and caramel while Snickers® features nougat topped with caramel and peanuts.

But does the motto of "Hungry? Grab a Snickers®!" actually live up to its name?

The Winner: Snickers®

While a Snickers® should not replace a balanced meal or snack, it appears to be the winner in this festive food fight.

A two cookie serving size of fun-size Twix® bar supplies 250 calories 14 g fat, 27 g carb, and 5 g protein. Per the same serving Snickers®, 160 calories are supplied, 8 g fat, 21 g carb, and 3 g protein.

Though Twix® surprisingly provides more protein, the large disparity between the calories, fat, and carb passes the torch to Snickers®.

Round 4: Tootsie Roll® versus Tootsie Pop®

The battle of the Tootsies®! Should you be counting how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop®?

The Winner: Tootsie® Toss-Up

According to the Tootsie® webpage, a 32 gram serving of Tootsie Rolls® (about 2 Snack Bar pieces) contains 120 calories and 16 g added sugars. There are 60 calories in a Tootsie Pop® (about 17 g), along with 11 g added sugar.

The portion sizes are not so comparable and the pop is lower in calories. The roll contains fewer ingredients, too, as the pop contains many artificial colors. However, the pop takes longer to eat, thus longer enjoyment time.

Truly, this is a Tootsie® toss-up!

Round 5: Reese's Peanut Butter Cup® versus Peanut M&M'S®

The real question up for debate is, "Creamy peanut butter or crunchy peanuts?"

The Winner: Reese's® Peanut Butter Cup

One fun-size packet of Peanut M&M'S® supplies 90 calories, half of them being from fat at 5 g per serving. They also contain 10.5 g carb, 9 g sugar, and 1.5 g protein.

One Reese's® Peanut Butter Cup supplies 105 calories, 6 g fat, 12 g carb, and 2.5 g protein.

The breaking point, once again, lies in the ingredients. Based on the official Reese's® site, the cups supply a mere seven ingredients while Peanut M&M'S® bare quite a lengthy list, including the addition of various food colorings.

So, what about those dark chocolate peanut butter cups versus white chocolate? Dark chocolate contains saturated and monounsaturated fats, along with a healthy dose of various vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidants.

But nutrition experts do not give all dark chocolate the greenlight and rather suggest to be cautious of added sugars. Besides, each peanut butter cup averages about 100 calories regardless.

Tips for Eating Halloween Candy and Treats

Despite these candy battles, enjoying Halloween candies and treats should not be frightening. Because, truly, those seasonal favorites can and should fit into a balanced diet!

Consider these tips for picking out (and enjoying) when picking out Halloween candy and treats:

1. Look for individually-wrapped pieces.

When purchasing a large bag of candy corn or gummy bears it can be all too welcoming to overindulge.

So instead, look for individually-wrapped pieces to help control portion and serving sizes.

2. Go for mini sizes of your favorites.

Hard to resist those peanut butter chocolate cups? You do not necessarily have to! However, go for those mini sizes of your favorites.

For instance, Reese's® offers both king-size and miniature options. Clearly, the latter is the route to take for ensuring proper portion sizes.

Besides, those seasonal Reese's® Halloween Peanut Butter Pumpkins also come in mini-size!

3. Make healthy Halloween treats at home.

Get into the holiday spirit by making Halloween treats at home. There you have the ability for tighter ingredient control on reducing added sugars and artificial flavors such as in this homemade Snickers® bar. Compared to store-bought, the homemade version is mostly a low sugar candy, supplying 13 g total sugars versus 29 g.

Other healthier routes aligning with the Halloween theme include painting a jack o' lantern face on an orange. Or, making boo-nanas by dunking bananas into yogurt and adding mini chocolate chips for ghost eyes.

Making goodies at home likewise comes in handy if needing a gluten-free treat or other diet-specific option.

4. Enjoy seasonal favorites while practicing mindful eating.

Rather than restricting sweet treats and candies, allow yourself to relish on them in a mindful manner. Mindful eating is a nonjudgmental awareness of physical and emotional sensations while eating and promotes the concept of "all foods fit."

Think about a caramel apple as an example. Take the time to cut it into slices and sit down with them. Use all the senses beyond taste and notice the way it smells, looks, etc. This helps strengthen a good relationship with food while naturally controlling portion sizes.

Also remember, the first bite tastes the same as the last!

Christy Zagarella's Photo
Written By Christy Zagarella, MS, RDN. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on October 31, 2019.


Follow @bistroMD

Theme picker

as seen on...
Dr Phil
Lifetime Network
The Biggest Loser
The Doctors