Health & Wellness Lifestyle Parenting

Healthier Halloween Candy Guide

by Meg Gerber September 25, 2019
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Avoid getting spooked by junky ingredients this Halloween by using our Nutritionist’s guide below. Don’t worry, we’re not here to be monsters and steal all of your candy away! Instead, we’ve equipped you with our favorite healthier candy list to make sure your little ghouls and goblins will be happy (and healthy) this Halloween!

The Top 5 Unhealthy Candy Ingredients to Avoid

Artificial Food Dyes

Food colorings have been found in numerous research studies to be correlated with cancer, ADHD/hyperactivity and allergy reactions. The most commonly used dyes include Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6; these can be found in skittles, jolly ranchers, smarties and sour patch kids

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Linked in countless research studies to diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome, this heavily processed form of sugar is highly addictive and made from genetically modified corn. Where will you find it? Lifesavers and Baby Ruth bars

Artificial Flavorings

This refers to any food flavoring from a synthetic (or laboratory derived) source-ew! In 2018, the FDA banned 7 artificial flavorings that were research-proven carcinogens. Candy that still has it? Nerds and Dubble Bubble gum

TBHQ

A synthetic food additive used to extend shelf life; associated with increased incidence of tumors; possible associated with ADHD and food allergy incidence. Candy that contains it: Butterfingers and Reese’s cups

Shellac

May be found on ingredient lists as resinous glaze or confectioner’s glaze; it makes up the shiny shell of various candies and it is derived from a resin secreted by a type of beetle; it is also used in sealants and varnishes for furniture. Found in the coatings of colorful candies such as M&Ms and Skittles

4 Healthy Candy Brands to Choose

Did the information above inspire you to find healthier candy options free of all of the junk? Your wish is our command! Check out the list below for our favorite gluten-free candies that are also free of artificial colors, flavorings, dyes, and additives! Pro tip: Whether healthier or not, be mindful to consume candy in moderation-we recommend getting the “fun” size portioned candies to help with overeating and limiting to two!

Smart Sweets

The “healthified” take on swedish fish, gummy bears and sour patch kids we’ve all been waiting for! These are free of added sugar and any artificial sweeteners/colors/flavors in addition to being made in a dedicated gluten, peanut, tree-nut, dairy, soy and casein free-facility. They are just sweetened with a little bit of stevia-a plant-derived sweetener that does not stimulate a blood sugar spike. Bonus- these have prebiotic fiber added- a good source of “food” for your healthy gut bacteria to help them flourish!

UnReal Candy

A healthier take on some childhood favorites- M&Ms, peanut M&Ms and Reese’s cups-these colorful candies use natural food-based dyes from things like beets and turmeric! All of these tasty chocolate treats happen to be certified gluten-free, fair trade, vegan, organic and free of GMOs.

Eating Evolved

Chocolate bars and nut butter cups; all products are certified organic, dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo, and vegan. Each of their chocolates has a simple, easy to understand ingredient list and sweeteners range from stevia to coconut sugar-a lower glycemic sweetener. The darker the better- the 100% coconut cacao bar is chock full of cancer-fighting antioxidants!

Wholesome Candies

Do you have a child with numerous allergies?! Not to fear- this company makes gummies, lollipops and jelly beans that are made and packaged in a facility free of the 10 most common food allergens, including dairy/casein, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, sesame and sulfites! They are also fair trade certified, free of corn syrup and vegan.

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References:

  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0009922810384728
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5747444/
  3. https://www.fda.gov/
  4. https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/
  5. https://jillcastle.com/childhood-nutrition/halloween-treats-ingredients-allergens/
  6. https://www.bestfoodfacts.org/tbhq-what-is-it-and-is-it-dangerous/
  7. https://www.forbes.com/sites/joannafantozzi/2018/10/09/fda-bans-seven-artificial-flavors-commonly-found-in-ice-cream-and-candy/#6f5cb3a16206
  8. https://www.verywell.com/gluten-free-candy-list-562806http://www.glutenawayblog.com/2012/10/gluten-free-candy-list.htmlhttps://www.fda.gov/https://www.glutenfreewatchdog.org/https://jillcastle.com/childhood-nutrition/halloween-treats-ingredients-allergen