healthy Halloween

Halloween Candy: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I recently read a report that said Americans purchase nearly 600 million pounds of candy for Halloween each year!  Another statistic on Halloween candy said that the average American kid consumes about 3 cups of sugar — that’s almost 170 sugar cubes in a single night!

Making smart, healthy decisions about candy on Halloween are much like making smart, healthy decisions about sweets and treats any other time of the year. Keep these concepts in mind…

#1: Quality matters

Good candy choices contain organic ingredients and use natural sweeteners from organic cane sugar or coconut sugar and are colored with extracts from real foods: black currants, carrots or turmeric, etc.

  • Good brand choices are: Justin’s, YumEarth, Surf Sweets, UNREAL, Wholesome, Theo

Bad candy choices contain some artificial ingredients and flavors.

  • Bad brands to watch for include: Hershey’s, Nestle (Kit Kat, Crunch), Mars (Snickers, 3 Musketeers)

Ugly candy choices contain corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup as well as artificial flavors and coloring.  These are typically the brands that stick to your teeth the most.

  • Ugly brands to avoid are: Wrigley (Skittles, Starburst), Jolly Rancher, AirHeads
    (Some bad brands also have ugly candy choices as well.)

#2: All in moderation

Even good candy choices can become ugly choices if over-consumed. Try these tips to help you enjoy Halloween night in moderation:

  1.  Eat a dinner rich in protein and healthy veggies before you go out Trick-or-Treating or to that Halloween Party
  2.  Enjoy only a few small pieces of candy early in the evening. Loading up on sugar closer to bedtime will make it more difficult to fall asleep.
  3.  Select your favorite pieces of candy and store them in a small container.  (Mason jars work great for this!). Put it away in a cabinet to be enjoyed on special occasions in the future.
  4.  Brush your teeth and floss before you go to bed.

If you (or your family) have trick-or-treated yourselves into candy overload, try one of these awesome places to donate your excess candy:

Soldier’s Angels
Operation Gratitude
Dentist Buy-Back
*Put your zip code in to search for drop-off locations near you

PARENTS: Consider inviting the “Halloween Fairy” into your family traditions.  Children leave excess Halloween candy out for her at night when they go to bed and it’s replaced with a toy or special prize in the morning.

Halloween is a fun and exciting time for fall and really sets the stage for the upcoming holidays of giving and sharing.  Let your candy choices bring you joy by savoring the sweet deliciousness from start to finish.  For more tips on how to practice Mindful Eating during this, and the other upcoming holidays, check out this previous blog post.


Disclaimer: Nutrition therapy is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, prescription, or cure for any disease, or as a substitute for medical care. Jen Marshall and Stacy St Germain are not licensed medical providers. Nutrition plans are not intended as a substitution for traditional medical care, nor should be interpreted as medical advice, but instead is an adjunctive and supportive therapy.