We trust you already know that candy isn’t the healthiest of food choices. In fact, in some cases it may be one of the worst options, but that doesn’t mean it has to be entirely off limits.
There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to a bite-sized Milky Way or sneaking a few Skittles every once in a while. But when an occasional candy turns into a ritual that occurs every day after lunch or each night after the kids are in bed, that’s when it can start to wreak havoc on your health.
And we all know how easy it is to develop a candy-eating habit around Halloween— when sweet treats seems to pop up just about everywhere you go and fighting temptations feels like an uphill battle.
One way around this is to opt for healthier alternatives.
“It's important to keep candy consumption in moderation and to remember that there are always healthier alternatives to your favorite candies,” said Tara Zamani, M.S., C.N.S., a clinical nutritionist with ContentChecked. “Keep in mind that too much sugar consumption is directly linked to weight gain, ADD, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and poor digestion and immune system function as it wreaks havoc on the blood sugar and creates an unhealthy microflora environment in the gut.”
So, which sugar-filled offenders will wreak the most havoc on your insides?
Zamani recommended avoiding products that contain refined sugar, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, food coloring, high-fructose corn syrup, synthetic vitamins, preservatives and artificial flavors. On the other hand, her list of “nutritionist approved” ingredients includes natural sweeteners like agave nectar, brown rice syrup, honey, coconut palm sugar-syrup, tapioca syrup, stevia, reb A and monk fruit.
“When you’re shopping for healthier alternatives check the ingredient list and look for labels that say things like organic, non-GMO, no artificial flavors, no synthetic preservatives and no artificial colors,” she added.
To help you identify some of the worst candy culprits, Zamani weighed in to share what she feels are the most unhealthy types of Halloween candy and similar alternatives made with higher-quality, healthier ingredients.
We’re not saying you should never eat a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup again, just be mindful of what these types of candies are made of and aim to save them for truly special occasions.
Worst: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
(Photo Credit: Amazon)
Zamani gives these a thumbs down because they’re made with non-organic, GMO peanuts, refined sugar and preservatives. She pointed out that one package (two peanut butter cups) has 13 grams of fat and 21 grams of sugar and especially recommends that kids avoid them if they’re at risk for being overweight or developing early onset diabetes.
Alternative: Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
(Photo Credit: Amazon)
“Justin’s creamy, chocolate peanut butter cups are gluten-free and made with organic ingredients,” Zamani said. “These treats are a much healthier version of the traditional Reese’s Peanut Butter cups as the peanuts in these are organic, non- GMO and there are no preservatives or trans fats.”