As a registered dietitian people often ask me: “What treats do you plan on handing out for Halloween?” There’s no mistaking the candy-obsession around this holiday and I’m here to say there are alternatives to passing out candy bars, lollipops or other assorted sugar-laden sweets. In fact, Crispy Green, Smart Lifebites’ parent company, had fun with the idea in this video that shows the great extents one Mom will go to swap out candy for healthy snacks.
Now that Halloween is almost here, it’s time to put those good intentions to practice as you search for healthier options. I evaluated dozens of treats to find those that not only fit a number of health criteria, but also fall within a variety of budgets. And last but not least, these treats are trick-or-treater approved. Here are my top 8 Healthier Halloween options.
Skinny Dipped Almonds
For chocolate lovers, I recommend Skinny Dipped Almonds, which are a natural source of plant protein and heart-healthy fats. These snacks are made with all real ingredients including ethically sourced, non-GMO chocolate. Choose from five flavors including peanut butter, mint and raspberry. With only 6 grams of sugar per pack, these are a RD-approved win.
Approximate cost: $1.10 per pack
Sunbutter SunSnacker Cups
This crunchy and creamy snack is kid-approved and allergy-friendly. It is made with creamy sunflower butter and crunchy bagel chips. Sunbutter is made from roasted sunflower seeds and more vitamins and minerals than most nut butters, plus less saturated fat. It is also free of the top 8 food allergens.
Approximate cost: $1.50 per cup
Saffron Road Honey Roasted Crunchy Chickpeas
This crunchy, sweet snack is a natural source of plant protein and fiber. With 4 grams of protein per serving, the Saffron Road honey roasted chickpeas are a snack with staying power to fuel the trick-or-treating fun.
Approximate cost: $1.99 per 1.25 oz. pack
These freeze-dried fruit snacks snack like a chip and are made with only one ingredient – the fruit itself (no added sugar). Fruit is nature’s candy and provides vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and filling fiber. Crispy Fruit comes in convenient to-go packs that are perfect for trick-or-treaters.
Approximate cost: $1.06 per pack
For gummy lovers, I recommend SmartSweets. With only 3 grams of sugar and 80-90 calories per bag, this better-for-you candy swap is a natural option for Halloween. They are sweetened without sugar alcohols or artificial ingredients, and come in the varieties of Peach Rings, Sweet Fish, Fruit and Sour Gummy Bears and more.
Approximate cost: $3.29 per pack
Quaker Granola Bars
The Quaker Chewy bars are made 100% whole grains and ingredients like chocolate chips and raisins so they are something parents can feel good about giving their kiddos. They also have no artificial flavors, added colors or high fructose corn syrup and come in kid-friendly varieties such as Dark Chocolate Chunk and S’mores.
Approximate cost: $0.20 per bar
Prince of Peace Ginger Chews
A little sweet and a little spicy, ginger chews make for a delicious Halloween treat. Research suggests that ginger may help comfort an upset stomach and aid digestion. The Prince of Peace Ginger chews come in six flavors including lemon and mango, and each chew is individually wrapped, making them easy to hand out on Halloween night.
Approximate cost: $1.99 per large bag
Mott’s No Sugar Added Applesauce Pouches
Mott’s No Sugar Added Applesauce is now available in convenient clear pouches. Each pouch features high-energy fun characters on the packaging to try to appeal to little ones while helping them meet one of their required servings of fruit for the day.
Approximate cost: $0.49 per pouch
Whatever you end up handing out, it’s just good to know you have healthy, kid-friendly options at your disposal. And yes, you can resist buying that giant bag of mini candy bars that is tempting you at the grocery store!
— By Mia Syn, MS, RDN
Find Mia at www.nutritionbymia.com @nutritionbymia