Which Halloween Treats are Healthiest?
By acac West Chester Nutritionist Margaret Moses, RD
No, it’s not an oxymoron. Some candies are nutritionally better than others.
With big differences in calories, sugar, and quality of ingredients used, it’s just not true that all Halloween candy is the same.
None of them are exactly good for you, but we’ve done some close analysis of common competitors to see which options are best from a nutrition perspective.
Candy Cheers and Jeers:
- PayDay over Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: Reese’s Cups contain polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR), a commercial emulsifier used to reduce cocoa butter. PayDay is the only candy to list peanuts, not sugar, as the first ingredient.
- Kit Kat over Twix: They’re similar in calories and sugar (and both include PGPR), but Twix’s ingredient list is long. Also, Twix is marketed as a biscuit topped with caramel and chocolate, but there’s no caramel on the ingredient list.
- M&Ms over Skittles: Both contain artificial colorings and wax. M&Ms offer a small amount of calcium and protein and less sugar.
- Baby Ruth over Snickers: There’s no real winner here–Snickers has partially hydrogenated oil, and Baby Ruth has high-fructose corn syrup and the preservative TBHQ. Snickers loses out simply because the portion is larger and so more caloric.
- Mounds over Almond Joy: Mounds has a shorter ingredient list and does not have the partially hydrogenated oil found in Almond Joy.
- 3 Musketeers over Hershey’s Milk Chocolate: The Hershey Bar has PGPR, while 3 Musketeers includes real cocoa powder.
- Whoppers over Milk Duds: Milk Duds will stick to your teeth, so they’re a no-no for anyone with dental issues. Whoppers’ smaller serving size saves some calories.