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If you’re wondering if you have the right blog, don’t worry… no, I don’t think there is such a thing as healthy candy!
By “healthy” I simply mean “better than the alternatives,” that is, made with real food ingredients and without artificial colors, preservatives and all the other junk found in typical candy.
I still prefer candy-free gifts or experiences whenever possible, even on Halloween. But thanks to companies that make candy with better ingredients, our family can partake in trick-or-treat festivities nearby (without resorting to handing out seaweed snacks…although I happen to love those too!).
Wait… Are Healthy Candy Good For You?
Given the negative health effects of sugar… no, definitely not!
I’ve been a bit bland about my stance on sugar. (But hey, I can’t help what the science says.) There were quite a few years when we even skipped partying and trick-or-treating altogether.
We’ve experimented with different approaches to Halloween (the ultimate candy-palooza) over the years. As our kids got older, we decided we could use Halloween or other special events as an opportunity for our kids to practice making good food choices, rather than opting out.
With more companies making better candy options (with ingredients I can actually recognize), I’ve been able to find some favorites that my kids love and can live with. Mixing these (sparingly) with plenty of non-candy alternatives creates a fun, creative, and healthy Halloween that I think is better than the original tradition!
Healthier Candy (and Non-Candy) Alternatives to Trick-or-Treating
I usually make my own candy or chocolate when we go to have it, but that won’t fly for trick-or-treating. If you’re looking for healthier store-bought candy, here are the ones that passed the test for us.
Of course, you won’t find many of these in your local grocery store, so I’m using my Thrive Market membership to stock up. The prices are low, it’s convenient and I love the selection.
All of the following treats are inexpensive (average 0.15-0.50 cents each) and individually packaged for trick-or-treating. Bonus, the neighborhood kids will probably like them more than the junky stuff!
Start with a healthy meal
First the good stuff, then the junk? This is true at my house on Halloween. Here are our favorite Halloween-themed meals and snacks that are high in protein, fat, and fiber to fill everyone up and keep the sugar rush at bay.
Organic Spooky Fruit Snacks
These gummy packs get their color and flavor from real food ingredients like pear juice and carrot juice. A far cry from most store-bought candies, these are organic and gluten-free.
Real Peely Fruit Tape
Do you remember these from the school lunch days? Something about the shape just makes this fruit leather more fun. This version uses real fruit and skips the corn syrup.
Grain Free Crackers
Give kids a break from all the sweet treats with these yummy grain-free crackers. They will never know they are nutritious to boot. These are also packaged individually for easy trick-or-treat distribution.
Snack packs with popcorn
We don’t often do popcorn, but when we do, we choose gluten-free and non-GMO. Kids and adults alike will love the “buttery” goodness of coconut oil and a pinch of pink Himalayan salt.
Yum Earth Gummies
This is another candy brand that I can occasionally get a treat for, and kids love the tart taste and fun curvy shape. The colors also look a bit like candy corn, but come from natural sources like blackcurrant and turmeric.
Peanut Butter Cups (Without Peanut Butter)
No Halloween trick-or-treating list can be complete without peanut butter cups. These Dark Almond Butter Cups are perfect as they are allergy friendly and (in my opinion) an improvement over the classic treat.
Torie & Howard Chewie Fruities
These chewy fruit candies look exactly like the popular Starburst candies, but use mostly organic and natural ingredients and no artificial flavors or colors. Plus, their creative flavors will tempt even adults: meyer lemon and raspberry, pomegranate and nectarine, and blood orange and honey.
Best Buy: Natural Lollipops
I know that shopping for natural or organic products can take a real bite out of the budget, but this time there is no excuse. I saved the best for last with these natural lollipops… 40 pops of organic and real fruit flavor in a bag for less than 15 cents each!
Non-Candy Goodies for Trick-or-Treating
Again, I only occasionally offer these as an alternative for special occasions where candy is unavoidable (like Halloween), not as a weekly/daily food for kids.
To keep candy from becoming the centerpiece of the holiday, mix in lots of non-edible treats and prizes. They are still cheap and kids love them! Here are 26 ideas on what to hand out for Halloween besides candy.
Other Healthy Halloween Snacks and Treats (Kids Like!)
One strategy for limiting candy consumption is to provide children with plenty of nutritious food before heading out the door to trick-or-treat. Instead of our usual dinner, we’ll make some Halloween-themed appetizers to share and make sure they’re high in protein and fiber (and low in sugar).
While there are a million ideas for healthy Halloween party food, I only tried the ones that seemed really simple and easy to prepare (because I’m not Martha Stewart), but I’m happy to report that most of these turned out really well with little time and effort. In most cases, the kids begged to take over and make them themselves. (I leave them!)
Here are some favorite Halloween party snacks and treats we tried:
I also have some homemade treats and some non-candy prizes on hand for after trick-or-treating. The kids cash in on some of their less-than-ideal candy for fun Halloween jewelry, trinkets, or toys. They usually have no problem with this and are looking forward to it.
Have a Happy Halloween!
In short, sharing in the community with our friends and neighbors is a top priority for us. These options are about as close to healthy candy as you can get, and they’ve made participation in the trick-or-treating possible for our family. By providing some better alternatives to the usual Halloween candy fest, we hope our kids will have a positive outlook on healthy eating and can focus on just having fun!
What do you hand out for Halloween? Have you found candy with better ingredients? Please share!