Boo! Spooky season is upon us. And it’s thick like sugar.
Ghoulish costumes and spooky decorations are decorating yards, but do you know what’s even scarier than that? The amount of sugar found in traditional Halloween treats! Honestly, the amount of sugar in classic Halloween candies may frighten you. Traditional halloween treats like Butterfingers or Almond Joy contain anywhere from 8-15g of sugar per serving! That’s just 2 miniature size candies.
And then there are gummies and hard-candies that are much more concentrated and can have anywhere from 11-16g of sugar per serving. On top of all that sugar, there is going to be a plethora of artificial colors, artificial sweeteners and additives. The overwhelming, long labels, often get looked over. Because, they’re just that; overwhelming! This is exactly why label reading 101 is something every Whitness Nutrition patient receives due to the tricky tactics used by the food and beverage industry.
Sugar isn’t always just listed as sugar either.
In fact, sugar is often listed under a few different names, such as:
- Confectioners Sugar
- Brown Rice Syrup
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
This is just the short list. Whether it’s Halloween, a special occasion or just-because moment, we want to prioritize lower-sugar and less-inflammatory sweet treats. I recommend that patients avoid a product if it’s label includes words you can’t pronounce, food coloring, excess sugar and artificial ingredients. That seems like a tough order, but luckily, over the past few years we’ve seen a rise is halloween treats and candies that have less sugar, whole food ingredients!
Make this spooky season a little less scary with five Whitness Nutrition approved halloween treats to enjoy with your ghoul-friends and boo-thang! But please, keep in mind – SUGAR IS SUGAR, and to enjoy the sweeter things in life within moderation. Share a bag of gummy candies with your sweetheart or break into a chocolate bar with your bestie. We want to maintain #bloodsugarbliss and the easiest way to do that is by sharing which naturally cuts portion size.
Dietitian Approved Healthier Sweet Treats for Halloween
Allergen-friendly chocolate without the added artificial sweeteners, UNREAL has created a line of delicious cleaner version of the classic M&Ms, Nougats and Peanut Butter Cups. UNREAL chocolates contain on average 51%, less sugar than the leading brands of candies, and have no added corn syrup, sugar alcohols, erythritol, or stevia.
Their peanut butter cups are the perfect swap for the classic Reeses Cup, as they’re made without soybean oil, artificial sweeteners or preservatives. A single UNREAL Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup has 5g of sugar, 36% of the amount found in a normal peanut butter cup. Not only will you be avoiding less sugar, but you’ll also avoid artificial ingredients and preservatives. My personal favorite? The almond butter cups that I order consistently through Thrive market!
Hot tip: put the UNREAL dark chocolate gems in the freezer, they become extra crunchy and delicious, you may or may not want to put them on coconut milk ice cream.
Gummies and Sour Patches have been revitalized! Smart Sweets nixed the artificial sweeteners and colorants used in the typical bag of gummy candies, and replaced them with plant-derived ingredients. Bonus, each serving (usually a whole bag!) is packed with plant-based fiber to keep things moving through your digestive tract! A bag of your typical gummy worms can have up to 14g of sugar per serving (about 14 worms), while a bag of Smart Sweets has only 4g of sugar per bag. Order your Halloween candy from Smart Sweets and use code WHITNESSNUTRITION10 to save on sweets!
Smart Sweets are the smarter, lower-sugar option, but because their fiber content is high watch the serving size to prevent any unwanted gut issues like bloating or gas!
3. Dark Chocolate
Keep it simple this Halloween with some dark chocolate!. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and mood boosting nutrients, but please keep in mind that doesn’t include white or milk chocolate. I like to advise my patients to aim for 70% or higher, and to always read the label. Many dark chocolates, such as Hershey’s or Dove, contain added sweeteners and vegetable oils. Aim for dark chocolate thats minimally processed and made with real food ingredients like cacao, coconut oil and coconut sugar. Dark chocolate favorites at Whitness Nutrition HQ include: Hu Kitchen, Trupo and Taza.
What I really love doing with a high quality dark chocolate is making a healthier version of classic chocolate candies like dairy-free butterfingers, vegan caramel candies and paleo kit-kat bars. The Hu Gems melt down to the perfect consistency for all your drizzle & dipping needs. Fun Fact: Candy isn’t the only item filled with sneaky ingredients, keep an eye out for the artificial sugars and preservatives found in common shelf-stable snacks. Avoid the tricks the food industry can play on you, focus on following a whole food and real food diet – which can also include sweet treats!
Sticky, crispy and chewy, nothing screams childhood nostalgia like a rice crispy treat made with fluffy marshmallows! Welcome Max Mallows, marshmallows made with collagen and MCT oil! Their ingredient list is short and sweet, in comparison to the marshmallows used in Rice Krispies’ long list that includes high fructose corn syrup and vegetable oil. Maxmallow are made with better for you ingredients and each bite size treat has 0g of added sugar; much less than the 8g of artificial sugar found in Rice Krispies.
Maxmallow no-guilt marshmallows are diabetic, keto and low-carb friendly, as well as free of any added sugar! Who would have thought you’d be able to eat a serving of marshmallows and get fiber, protein and all the flavor without the other junk?! The Burnt Caramel flavor is the ultimate addition to any s’mores or kitchen sink cookie.
I discovered this dairy-free deliciousness when I was ordering my groceries on Hungry Root and my life was changed. Cocomels are caramel candies made with coconut milk instead of cream, butter and milk like traditional caramels – yay for healthy fats! They contain no high fructose corn syrup and are allergen-friendly, organic and plant-based! My personal favorites are the coconut sugar caramels, as one sweet treat only has 2g of sugar and zero artificial ingredients! Meanwhile a serving of traditional caramel candies has 11g of sugar and three different sweeteners. No thanks.
Smart Sweets also recently released a low sugar caramel option, and when they say low-sugar, they mean it! In fact, a bag of the Smart Sweets caramels have 94% less sugar than traditional caramel candies. Classic creamy and chewy texture, just much less sugar! Don’t forget about that code WHITNESSNUTRITION10 to save on Smart Sweets!
Lastly, surprise them with savory!
Not all goodies have to be sweet! Consider individual bags of popcorn, pretzels or almond-flour crackers which are an easy and tasty alternative to sweet treats. Remember, even the ingredients on a bag of popcorn need to be surveyed. Instead of focusing on sugar, consider sodium levels and the prevalence of inflammatory oils. One of my favorite savory snacks, Lesser Evil Popcorn, has come out with mini bags for trick-or-treaters made with coconut oil and/or ghee. You already know those will be at Casa Stuart! We keep a bag of Lesser Evil around for movie nights and order it easily from Thrive Market, the no-cheese version is delicious! Need some savory snack recommendations? Find my favorites here!
If Halloween isn’t the issue and you’re just struggling to get ahold of your sugar habits and health, don’t fear, Whitney the R.D. is here! Schedule a call today to talk more about healthy dietary habits and how to achieve blood sugar bliss.