Candy is truly the star of Halloween. What would Halloween be without the trick-or-treating? Clearly, it’s a holiday all about sweets. And even if you’re not going door-to-door yourself this year, seeing all the candy at the store is very tempting. And you may be curious about how different types stack up nutritionally. Rejoice, turns out there is such a thing as healthy candy!
That includes candies that mark themselves as lower in sugar, dark chocolate (bonus: it’s loaded with antioxidants) as opposed to milk or white chocolate, or anything naturally sweetened with fruit and vegetable juice, says nutritionist Lauren Minchen, MPH, RDN, CDN. You can also look for functional add-ins, like omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, and antioxidants from dried fruits or cacao, for some extra nutrition, she adds.
It’s no secret that traditional Halloween sweets can often be loaded with sugar and lacking in vitamins and minerals. And eating too much of it can result in the dreaded sugar crash, says Tamsin Jordan, RD, the owner of Jordan Nutrition.
“Eating large quantities of sugar in a short period of time can lead to rapid swings in blood glucose. This is particularly detrimental to your brain, which is reliant on a constant, steady supply of glucose,” Jordan explains. The change in blood glucose levels can sometimescause sugar headaches, which feel a bit like hangovers.
If you’re currently on the hunt for some better-for-you options, here’s a list of 28 healthy candy options nutritionists love. Whether you’re into hard candy, chocolate, candy bars, or cookies, there’s a low-calorie or low-sugar alternative here for you. You may have to take off the costume, but these options can stay in your pantry all year long. Mwahaha!
Meet the experts: Lauren Minchen, MPH, RDN, CDN, works with her clients to develop a balanced, sustainable lifestyle with healthy food.
Amber Pankonin, RD, is a nutritionist and certified executive chef. She was named “Outstanding Dietitian of the Year” from the Nebraska Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2021.
Shamera Robinson, MPH, RDN, CDCES, is a nutritionist with a background in public health and diabetes education.
1. Dove Silky Smooth Promises Dark Chocolate Almond Candy
Silky Smooth Promises Almond and Dark Chocolate
“I’m not a big fan of just plain chocolate, so I like that this candy features dark chocolate filled with crunchy almond pieces—it adds a nice texture,” says Charlotte Martin, RDN, CSOWM, CPT, the owner of Shaped by Charlotte. “You get four pieces per serving, and a serving provides two grams each of fiber and protein!”
Per 4 piece serving: 170 calories, 11 g fat (5 g saturated), 17 g carbs, 14 g sugar, 10 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein
2. Lily’s Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Style Bar
Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Style Bar
“One serving of this chocolate bar contains 130 calories, 17 grams of carbohydrate and less than 1 gram of total sugars,” says Amber Pankonin, RD, LMNT, CEC, the owner of the food blog Stirlist. “It’s sweetened with stevia, which helps lower the sugar content. And it also contains 10 grams of fiber per serving.”
Per one serving: 130 calories, 11 g fat (6 g saturated), 17 g carbs,<1 g sugar, 75 mg sodium, 10 g fiber, 2 g protein
3. Good & Gather Dark Chocolate-Covered Freeze-Dried Strawberries
Dark Chocolate Covered Freeze Dried Strawberries
Martin is a huge fan of Good & Gather’s freeze-dried strawberries, and she loves this chocolate-covered version. They’re bite-sized, have the perfect sour-to-sweet ratio, and are great for curbing a sweet tooth.
Per 1/4 cup serving: 150 calories, 10 g fat (6 g saturated), 17 g carbs, 14 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein
4. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups by Lily’s Sweets
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
“Two pieces contain 140 calories, 13 grams of carbohydrate, and no added sugars,” says Pankonin. And he high-protein and -fiber content makes these a really satisfying treat.
Per two-piece serving: 140 calories, 13 g fat (8 g saturated), 13 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 85 mg sodium, 6 g fiber, 3 g protein
5. ChocXO Choc Keto Snaps
Choc Keto Snaps
Pankonin loves these snaps because they are easy to stick in a lunch bag as a dessert or stash at the office when you need a treat that is both convenient and semi-healthy.
Per two-snap serving: 180 calories, 15 g fat (9 g saturated), 6 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 5 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein
6. Catalina Crunch Chocolate Vanilla Keto Sandwich Cookies
Chocolate Vanilla Keto Sandwich Cookies
These classic sandwich cookies not only taste great, but they are really filling thanks to the protein and fiber they pack. They are also sweetened with allulose, which might help manage blood glucose and insulin levels, says Pankonin.
Per two-cookie serving: 90 calories, 6 g fat (3 g saturated), 12 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 95 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 4 g protein
7. Golly Lolli
Low Sugar Organic Certified Golly Lolli’s
What’s more nostalgic than a lollipop? “These lollipops are lower in sugar than their traditional counterparts,” Jordan says. “They contain prebiotic fiber which is supportive of gut health. No artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, or preservatives.”
Per two lollipops: 30 calories, 0 g fat, 12 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 8 g fiber, 0 g protein
8. Highkey Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies
Highkey Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies
Jordan likes these low-sugar cookies for their wholesome ingredients, which include coconut oil and collagen. They’re also a better choice for people watching their glucose or carb intake. “These chocolate chip cookies are a good option if you’re looking for something sweet without the sugar and carbs,” Jordan says.
Per seven-piece serving: 130 calories, 13 g fat (6 g saturated), 12 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 105 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein
9. Fun Sized Milk Chocolate M&M’s
M&Ms Milk Chocolate Fun Size Candy
Umm, a Halloween candy list isn’t complete without this chocolate staple. “My personal favorite healthy Halloween candy is M&M’s. I find that just three to four M&M’s can satisfy my sweet-tooth craving if I let them melt in my mouth and enjoy them slowly and mindfully, says nutritionist Jessica Ivey, RDN, LDN. “The small snack packs help with portion control and have just nine grams of sugar each.”
Per fun size bag: 63 calories, 2 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 10 g carbs, 9 g sugar, 10 mg sodium, 0.3 g fiber, 0.7 g protein
10. York Peppermint Patties Miniatures
York Dark Chocolate Peppemint Patties, Candy Miniatures
Mint chocolate lovers, this one’s for you.”I love York Peppermint Patties Miniatures, which are individually wrapped for ease and portion control. Each patty has just 50 calories and about nine grams of sugar,” says Ivey.
Per three patties: 150 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated), 33 g carbs, 27 g sugar, 50 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 1 g protein
11. SmartSweets Peach Rings
For those who can’t resist the gummy goodness of a peach ring, grab these from SmartSweets. “I love SmartSweets candy. This company has cut the artificial colors, sugar alcohols, and artificial sweeteners, and is a much better option when you want something sweet, says Eliza Savage, RD, the author of Healing Through Nutrition: The Essential Guide to 50 Plant-Based Nutritional Sources.
Per bag serving: 80 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 33 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 75 mg sodium, 28 g fiber, 0 g protein
12. Unreal Dark Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Gems
Dark Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Gems
These chocolate-covered peanut gems will satisfy your cravings for something crunchy. “Unreal bites are great healthier-for-you candy options for those looking to satisfy a sugar craving, or make a smart swap for the typical Halloween go-to’s. Unreal also uses non-GMO, fair trade, sustainable ingredients!” says Savage.
Per serving: 140 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated), 19 g carbs, 15 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein
13. Surf Sweets Organic Fruity Bears Mini Bags
Surf Sweets Organic Fruity Bears
Add these gummy bears to your Halloween candy shopping list ASAP. “These organic gummies are vegan and gluten-free, and they get their color from natural sources like black carrots and turmeric. The half-ounce snack packs are 45 calories with eight grams of sugar and 35 percent of the day’s antioxidant vitamin C,” says nutritionist Maggie Moon, RD.
Per 16-piece serving: 130 calories, 0 g fat, 32 g carbs, 23 g sugar, 120 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein
14. Bissinger’s Gummy Pandas
Gummy Pandas Assorted Bag
Who needs gummy bears when you can have these cute gummy pandas? “Sweetened with organic sweeteners and colored with fruit and veggie juice, these are a better option to satisfy that gummy craving! And they come in one to two-serving packages, so it’s easier to keep portions in check,” says Minchen.
Per 17-piece serving (strawberry mango flavor): 130 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 29 g carbs, 18 g sugar, 20 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 3 g protein
15. Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Think Reeses’ Cups, but made with dark chocolate instead. “Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups have about five grams less sugar per package than typical PB cups, and have all organic ingredients,” says Savage. “These products are not only better for you, but they are better for the environment, too. Justin’s cocoa is Rainforest Alliance-certified and they also use sustainably sourced palm fruit oil.”
Per serving: 220 calories, 14 g fat (7 g saturated), 20 g carbs, 16 g sugar, 120 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein
16. Woodstock Organic Dark Chocolate Raisins
Woodstock Organic Dark Chocolate Raisins
While eating raisins as a Halloween candy might sound tragic, you’ll see it’s the next best thing when you have these chocolate-covered ones. “Chocolate-covered raisins can be a good healthy candy option, since they satisfy your sweet tooth while cutting back on added sugar and fat compared to other candies,” says Jodi Danen, RD, the founder of Create Kids Club.
Per 1/4 cup serving: 170 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated), 27 g carbs, 20 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein
17. Ghirardelli 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate Squares
Intense Dark 72% Cacao Twilight Delight Chocolate Bar
Looking for some candy you can share with those spooky trick-or-treaters? Here’s your pick. “Dark chocolate packs more brain-boosting polyphenols than milk chocolate. Plus, exposing young palates to darker chocolate may help them develop a lower sweetness preference,” says Moon. “Each square is about 60 calories with less than three grams of sugar and even contributes a little potassium and fiber in each bite.”
Per four-piece serving: 230 calories, 20 g fat (12 g saturated), 19 g carbs, 11 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 3 g protein
18. Cocomels Sea Salt Coconut Milk Caramels
Coconut Milk Sea Salt Caramels
These aren’t your basic caramel bites. This version is made with notes of Madagascar vanilla. “When I want a candy treat, I reach for these decadently delicious Cocomel Bites,” says Lindsey Pine, RDN, CPT, the author of Mediterranean Diet Meal Prep Cookbook. “The dark chocolate-covered coconut milk caramels are vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, organic, and contain real ingredients rather than a bunch of chemicals and food dyes.”
Per six-piece serving: 120 calories, 3.5 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 21 g carbs, 16 g sugar, 400 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 1 g protein
19. Ocho Organic Peanut Butter Minis
Ocho Organic Peanut Butter Minis
What’s better than chocolate and peanut butter thrown together into this better-for-you option? “These little chocolate peanut butter bars are made with organic ingredients, fair trade chocolate, and are certified gluten-free. They run about 70 calories per mini-bar with less than five grams of sugar,” says Moon.
Per serving: 210 calories, 14 g fat (6 g saturated), 18 g carbs, 17 g sugar, 80 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein
20. 3 Musketeers Mini Candy Bars
Fun Size Bars
Whenever that candy craving hits, ask yourself what texture and taste most appeals to you in that moment, suggests Ximena Jimenez, RDN. “If fluffy and light is what you crave, a 3 Musketeers bar will satisfy. An extra bonus for me is that seven [minis] have just 170 calories. Remember to enjoy every bite of those pieces!”
Per seven-piece serving: 170 calories, 5 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 32 g carbs, 27 g sugar, 80 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein
21. Larabar Minis Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Mini Bars
“Larabars are one of my favorite sweet treats,” Jordan says. “They only contain natural ingredients, satisfying your sweet tooth without artificial sweeteners.” She also likes that the individual packing can help you exercise portion control.
Per bar serving: 100 calories, 6 g fat, 12 g carbs, 8 g sugar, 45 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein
22. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Peanut butter is a great snack, but peanut butter covered in chocolate is an even better treat,” says Shamera Robinson, MPH, RDN, CDCES. “The dark chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s are the perfect mix of sweet and satisfying. The chocolate coating offers just enough sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth and the creamy peanut butter center provides a hint of protein to satisfy your appetite.”
Per three-piece serving: 200 calories, 12 g fat (6 g saturated), 22 g carbs, 18 g sugar, 110 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein
23. Almond Joys
Coconut And Almond Chocolate Candy Bars
Nutritionist Emily Kyle, RDN, calls this classic her “absolute favorite candy ever.” “As a die-hard coconut fan, I love the combination of the coconut flavor with the chocolate and the delicious crunch of the almond,” she says. “While it’s not much, the whole almonds do provide some vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fiber.”
Per bar: 220 calories, 12 g fat (8 g saturated), 26 g carbs, 20 g sugar, 50 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein
24. Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Kisses
Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate Candy
If you’re looking for a treat that won’t have you going overboard on calories and sugar, Danen recommends taking advantage of mini-sized candy options. “My favorite? A bag of dark chocolate Hershey’s kisses kept in the freezer for when those cravings hit. Dark chocolate has less sugar, is often dairy-free, and is rich in antioxidants that have been shown to reduce blood pressure and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease,” she says.
Per seven-piece serving: 150 calories, 9 g fat (6 g saturated), 20 g carbs, 17 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein
25. Unreal Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
UNREAL Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
When it comes to peanut butter cups, you can never have too many options. Jordan recommends Unreal’s peanut butter cups because the candy is made from “fair trade ingredients and tastes delicious.” Dark chocolate is also filled with antioxidants that help to reduce oxidative stress in the body, building up your immunity.
Per one-cup serving: 80 calories, 6 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 8 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 40 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein
26. Dark Chocolate Raspberry Skinny Dipped Almonds
Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almonds
These treats are lower in sugar than other chocolate-covered nut candies and have a natural dose of fiber, healthy fats, and protein from the almond. These not only taste good, but they’re filling, too,” says Kelly Schmidt, RD, LDN.
Per 1.2-ounce serving: 180 calories, 15 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 10 g carbs, 6 g sugar, 100 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 7 g protein
27. SmartSweets Fruity Gummy Bears
Fruity Gummy Bears
Chewy and yummy, these gummies may need a permanent spot in your pantry. “They’re sweetened without sugar alcohols, which can cause major gut distress, using stevia instead,” says Monica Auslander Moreno, RDN, the founder of Essence Nutrition. “They also come in nice single-serve portions, which help you self-limit.”
Per bag: 90 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 33 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 15 mg sodium, 28 g fiber, 3 g protein
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