Ghouls. Demons. Princesses. Deliciousness. Halloween can mean a lot of things to a lot of people around the world. And it’s fast approaching. But don’t be scared! Whatever your health journey—weight management, blood sugar management, strength training, etc.—there are still many RD-approved Halloween candies that won’t break the calorie bank.
“One of the benefits of Halloween candy is that it’s typically portioned into small bites and pieces,” says Sidney Fry, RD. “But to prevent going overboard, keep your wrappers in a pile so you can be mindful of how much you’re consuming.”
For example, a dark chocolate bar with nuts is a great sweet treat. When a bar also includes nuts, it helps increase the nutrient profile by including protein, fat, and fiber.
Chocolate also varies in its cocoa content. The percentage represents the actual cacao beans, including the cocoa liquor and cocoa butter in the bar. A higher percentage of cacao in chocolate typically means more nutrients and less sugar. This is why opting for dark chocolate is often a better choice.
The higher the cacao percentage the more you will benefit from the nutrients found in the chocolate liquor. Today’s Dietitian reports that a 60% to 69% pure cocoa bar contains “19% DV manganese, 17% DV copper, 12% magnesium, 10% DV iron, and smaller amounts of phosphorus, potassium, selenium, calcium, and vitamins K, B12, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid.” Dark chocolate bars also provide a good source of theobromine, an antioxidant that can help to lower inflammation levels and may assist in lowering blood pressure.
Here are some options for treats with better ingredients and/or less sugar:
- HU Kitchen bars – Hazelnut Dark Chocolate or Almond Crunch
- Alter Eco – Super Dark truffles
- Unreal – Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars
- Unreal – Dark Chocolate Peanut Gems
- YumEarth – Halloween Organic Gummy Fruits
For more traditional options featuring dark chocolate and nuts, try 2-3 miniatures of Snickers or Almond Joy.
“Be intentional about picking out your favorites,” suggests Kacie Barnes, a registered dietitian nutritionist. “You’ll enjoy them the most, be more satisfied, and end up eating less.”
Some tips for Halloween night (and beyond!):
- Hold off on breaking open those bags of candy until just before trick-or-treaters arrive. Take it a step further and wait until Halloween day (if you can!) to purchase your treats!
- Have a well-balanced meal containing healthy fats before you indulge in your favorite candies. That way, your stomach is already feeling full and satiated.
- Make sure your pre-candy meal also contains fiber and protein to help balance blood sugar levels.
- Pick a few of your favorites and enjoy! Give the remainder away or stash a few in the freezer for later.
- Make sure to stay active! And yes, walking from house to house counts! This helps your body digest the foods you eat and lessens the adverse effects of overconsuming food and sugar.
Last but not least: remember that you can eat candy whenever you want! Making certain foods “off-limits” makes overeating more likely when you do allow yourself to eat them, explains Emily Zorn, a registered dietitian and health coach. So try to keep that in mind: If you’re really loving the candy you’re eating, you can always have a little now and have a little tomorrow. Then, there’s no urgent need to eat as much as possible now.
Don’t forget to log your trick-or-treat walking as exercise, and happy Halloween!
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