PSA: These Are the "Healthiest" Halloween Candies
I'm not a huge candy eater, but around Halloween, I can't help but crave a couple of my childhood favorites: Reese's Pieces and 100 Grand Bars. If the holiday makes you nostalgically reach for a bag of your preferred sweets but you're on a diet, trying to eat healthy, or simply cutting back on your sugar intake, you might want to think twice before you stock up on Butterfingers. In fact, to determine the healthiest candy to reach for this Halloween, I performed a slightly unscientific study of the nutrition labels on every bag of treats in my local Target's Halloween aisle, assessing each candy on its calorie, sugar, fat, and sodium intake to determine which are the least-guilty guilty pleasures.
Without further adieu, here are the 10 healthiest Halloween candies to snack on.
Have you ever wondered why Dum Dums are the lollipop of choice at doctor's offices? Wonder no more. There's no fat or sodium in a Dum Dum, and one little lolly has just 25 calories and 5 grams of sugar. Perhaps Dum Dums should change their name to Good Goods?
Lollipops are a clear front-runner in terms of healthy Halloween candy options. While I can't tell you how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, I can tell you that one of these babies is only 60 calories.
These hard, fruity candies have been around since 1949. The original flavors were grape, apple, and something called Fire Stix. Later cherry, lemon, pineapple, blue raspberry, cherry, sour apple, and watermelon were added. What's your flavor of choice?
When it comes to all of the candies listed here, portion size matters. A single serving of Red Vines is four twists, so if you're an everything-in-moderation type of person and can eat only one Red Vine, congrats! You're being extra healthy.
At my Target, there were three different kinds of candy corn. Traditional (cone-shaped; white, orange, and yellow), Autumnal (a mixture of pumpkins and traditional brown cones with orange tips), and Pumpkin. Avoid the Pumpkin, and opt for the Traditional. Note that there is a lot of sugar in candy corn—27 grams in just 21 pieces.
Tootsie Rolls differ from Tootsie Pops in that they don't have the hard outer candy shell. This is the first on this list to contain fat, and a serving size is six pieces. Can you do the Tootsie Roll while wearing a costume while eating a Tootsie Roll? I dare you to try it!
Confession: I always keep small boxes of Junior Mints in my freezer. While I'm generally very good about not eating them, in the time it took me to write this story, I ate two small boxes. It's a single serving and actually quite a lot of Junior Mint pieces.
If quantity is important to you when it comes to eating sweets, Skittles are your best bet. You can eat three small bags of them and only consume 190 calories. Here are a couple of fun facts about Skittles: First created in 1974, they were originally a British candy. They were imported into the U.S. in 1974 and weren't domestically made until 1982. Skittles also has one of the most liked brand pages on Facebook.
An iconic movie theater classic, Milk Duds date back to 1926. Rumor has it the Milk Duds makers originally wanted to make a perfectly round candy but were unable to do so. Someone called it a dud, and the name stuck.
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are the healthiest of the chocolate Halloween candy options. A single cup is one serving, so be sure not to have a bunch.
If chocolate is your jam, note that it's "healthier" to have Hershey's chocolate bars than chocolate Kisses, and the best type of M&M's are the ones filled with pretzels. Nestlé Crunch, Snickers, Butterfingers, Milky Ways, 3 Musketeers, and 100 Grands are all not so good for you. But it is Halloween, so if you're going to splurge, just have one small piece and not the entire serving size.
What's your favorite Halloween candy?
This story was originally published on October 29, 2015, and has since been updated.