Trick or treating on Halloween night has become a tradition for many children each year. Some families choose to walk house to house while their children collect candy, while others may participate in an organized trick or treating event.
Whatever way your family chooses to celebrate the holiday, you will likely end up with a giant collection of candy at the end of the night.
Many of the most popular candies handed out on Halloween night are unhealthy and should be consumed in moderation, and some should be disregarded entirely.
Here’s a look at the 10 most unhealthy candies you may find in your child’s bag this Halloween that you should consider tossing.
When it comes to Halloween candies for your child to consume, Smarties is actually the smartest option because they are low in calories and fat and are gluten, dairy and peanut-free. However, these long-time Halloween staples still contain quite a bit of sugar in exchange for very little nutritional value, which is why they made the list of the most unhealthy Halloween candy for children.
Few things scream fall quite like candy corn; however, these tiny treats contain a lot of sugar and calories. For a treat pack, there is a shocking 31 grams of sugar and 150 calories – but 0 grams of fat. Although it’s better to toss this seasonal candy, it can be fun to enjoy a few with your child as a once-a-year treat.
This colorful candy has been deemed the worst non-chocolate candy option around, mostly due to its high calories and sugar content. For a Fun Size Skittle, you’re looking at 190 calories and 34 grams of sugar. If the array of colors proves too tempting for your child, you can at least rest assured that this treat does contain a surprising amount of vitamin C.
Arguably one of the most popular Halloween candies around is the Snickers bar. The combination of chocolate, peanuts and caramel (which Time has deemed the “holy trinity of confection”) makes this candy irresistible — but also extremely high in sugar, calories and fat. A Fun Size Snickers includes 160 calories, 17 grams of sugar and 8 grams of total fat.
Did you know that the Hershey brand (who created Almond Joy candies) is the largest almond buyer in North America? A big reason for this is the almond-filled candies that have become so popular. However, this candy makes the list of the most unhealthy candies for your child due to its high sugar and fat content. For a Snack Size Almond Joy, your child will be taking in 16 grams of sugar and 9 grams of total fat.
Don’t be fooled by the fact that these candies can technically count as a fruit serving for your child. The high sugar content (28 grams of sugar to be exact) of a Fun Size Raisinets package makes it one of the least healthy candies for your child to eat. This treat can be made healthier if you opt to give your child a dark chocolate variety instead.
Even though one of its main ingredients is puffed rice, Crunch bars are actually one of the highest calorie and sugar candies your child can eat. With a whopping 190 calories, 21 grams of sugar and 9 grams of total fat, the Crunch bar is popular because it introduced a type of filling that is cheaper to make.
M&Ms are one of the most unhealthy candies your child can consume on Halloween for many reasons. First off, it’s easy to take in more than you think you are as these colorful candies are often consumed by the handful. Secondly, the color on the hard shells of these chocolate bites comes from chemical-filled dyes that are dangerous for anyone to eat. Finally, a fun size package of Peanut M&Ms includes 180 calories, 18 grams of sugar and 10 grams of total fat — and most kids can’t stop at just one!
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Although they do offer some protein in the form of the peanut butter insides, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are also very high in calories, sugar and fat. For a single Snack Size cup, your child will be taking in 220 calories, 22 grams of sugar and 13 grams of total fat. And beware, the holiday editions of this popular treat are actually worse than the standard cup.
Fun Size Twix Bars
Not only do Twix bars have the most calories, but they also have the highest amount of fat, making them the least healthy candy for your child to eat. Just one Fun Size Twix contains 250 calories, 17 grams of sugar and 14 grams of total fat. That’s a lot for such a small piece of candy!
Healthier Halloween Treats for Children
So what should you allow your child to eat this Halloween? Dark chocolate options are typically better due to the myriad of benefits behind dark chocolate.
Fortunately, now, a number of the big-name candy brands make healthier options such as Brach’s Classic Candy Corn made with honey so it’s naturally sweetened.
You can also find many candies that are similar to their unhealthy counterparts. For example, Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, which contain all organic ingredients, are a much healthier alternative to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Another great option for your child is a more savory snack like Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies or classic popcorn.
At the end of the day, it’s unlikely that you can prevent your child from consuming any candy around Halloween. But it’s important to know the worst offenders so you can limit your child’s consumption. Reminding your child of the value of moderation is an important step in setting them up for a healthy lifestyle in the future.
If you’d like to talk with a physician about your child’s health, consider a visit to your local CareNow® location. We’ve got more than 150 clinics throughout the U.S., all open after hours on the weekends, and are ready to serve you and your family.
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