Safer and clean: Organic candy for Halloween

Live Healthy Anywhere, on the road and on the go.

It’s time to put some ‘clean’ into Halloween

 
Cleaner candy, anyone?
 
It’s that time of year.
 
Soon little goobs and goblins will be at your front door eagerly awaiting their sugary bounty.
 
So what’s the steadfast healthy connoisseur to do this time of year?
 
Well, you could opt-out – kill the lights and stand in solidarity against purveyors of sugar crashes, migraines, and emotional meltdowns.
 
Or you could opt-in as an unexpected ray of sunshine and provide healthier, cleaner Halloween handouts. ☀️ 
 
We choose the latter. Here’s our guide to ‘healthy’ Halloween ‘candy’ that’s safer, healthier, tasty, and still fun. 
 

Top 3 picks for safer Halloween treats (no tricks!)

We’ve stocked up on our favorites – they’re a hit with kids and parents alike. 

Note: this section includes three links to Amazon. We signed up as an Amazon affiliate to provide links to products we hand select. We only include items we purchase, use, and enjoy ourselves. 

 

1. Clif Kid Organic Z Bars*. With 100% whole organic grains, there’s 2g of redeeming fiber – plus a pinch of protein (2g).  The bar size is just right, and the flavor’s great. “Chocolate Chip” seems the preferred flavor, but we also handout “Chocolate Brownie”, “Iced Oatmeal Cookie”, and “Smores”. Suggest 1 or 2 bars per child.

Bonus: We reserve a box (or more!) for hikes and longer bike rides. The bars are easily digestible and work better for us than the ‘normal’ Clif bars. 

Find at your local organic/natural grocer, or click below to buy now on Amazon.

2. Annie’s Organic Bunny Grahams* With certified organic ingredients, no artificial dyes or preservatives, these delicious and cute little bunny grahams are pure delight. We find the regular snack packs a better buy than the Halloween version, which contains tiny snack packs – although the masked Halloween bunnies are adorable. You can pay around $20 to serve 48 kids (regular) or around $17 to serve 11 kids the same amount from the Halloween version.   

Adults be warned: Tuck these away if you buy too far in advance, they’re addictive! 

Find at your local organic/natural grocer, or click below to buy now on Amazon. 

3. Justin’s Chocolate Hazlenut & Almond nut butter packs If you want to get a little “fancy”, hand out individual nut butter squeeze packs. We like Justin’s for their fiber (3g), protein (4g), and relatively lower sugar (7g) and also for their conscious sourcing of sustainable palm oil. There’re also other versions, like honey and peanut butter.

Adults may love these just as much or even more than the kids. 

Find at your local natural grocer, or click below to buy now on Amazon. 

*These do contain “Natural Flavors”, but it’s a tradeoff we accept in this quest to find safer, cleaner versions of Halloween treats. And these are not “healthy” snacks per se. The intent here was to strike a balance between good taste, good fun, and better, cleaner ingredients.  

Our standards for safer, clean Halloween treats

1. Watch the Sugar

Truth is, most kids get too much sugar already, so why exacerbate the issue?

Much Halloween candy is devoid of any nutritive value, it’s just high sugar and high fat, pure “junk food”. 

No need to dwell on the ill-effects of sugar here, but to mention a few, the risks of too much sugar include: 

      • blood sugar roller coaster and dysregulation, mood swings, weight gain, dizzyness, etc
      • diabetes (we even see the “adult” form, Type 2, now commonplace in children) 
      • obesity
      • heart disease
      • brain impairment

Keep in mind “sugar” means all types of sugar, including corn syrup, fructose, sorbitol, sucralose, high fructose corn syrup, and all forms in between. While some forms are more insidious than others (artificial sugars like HFCS and sucralose (i.e. Splenda) especially!), all forms exert ‘sugar’ effects on our body and brain. 

If it were possible to include a little fiber and protein to tame the sugar – we’d be better off this Halloween.

Bottom Line: Steer clear of near-pure-sugar examples like Smarties, SweeTarts, Smarties, Skittles, AirHeads, Starbursts and the like. Look for options that have a bit more nutrition, i.e. whole grains, fiber, and/or protein. 

2. Watch for Additives, e.g. Colors, Flavors, Preservatives

Most commercial candies contain artificial flavors and/or colors.

We recommend especially avoiding additives where studies reveal specific concerns or health risks. 

These include: 

  • THBQ (aka tert-butylhydroquinone), a preservative linked to tumor growth and neurotoxic effects in animals. Found in Reeses PB cups, Butterfinger, Baby Ruth. 
  • Artificial Colors, especially when you see “Blue”, “Red”, “Yellow”, “LAKE”.. these are all red flags. There are various toxicity concerns with colors, ranging from causing hypersensitivity or migraines to causing tumors in organs to likely containing carcinogenic contaminants.  Found in M&Ms, Skittles, AirHeads, Starbursts, Lifesavers, and more.
  • Artificial Flavors and Artificial Sweeteners “Flavors” are used in the food industry the way “Fragrance” is used in the beauty industry – you don’t have to disclose the chemicals used, as they could be “trade secrets”. Since up to a hundred or more undisclosed chemicals can be used, we steer clear of “artificial flavors” altogether. (you could argue it’s a ‘small’ amount per serving, but these add up over time) Found in most all candies.  

As to artificial sweeteners, Aspartame, Acesulfame K, Saccharin, and Sucralose all have toxicity concerns and are also believed to encourage over-eating. Typically found in “sugar-free” candies. 

The FDA has stepped in over the years to ban certain chemicals from being used, but it’s always retrospective and often years  – sometimes decades – after ongoing troubling studies and raised concerns. 

Industry pressures combined with the unencumbered exponential growth of new chemical agents and additives over recent years make it impossible for the FDA to stay on top of things.

It’s incumbent upon us to be aware and choose wisely. 
 

3. Watch for Trans fats and unhealthy or unsustainable fats

While trans fats have officially been banned, they’re still in circulation, so keep watch for “partially hydrogenated” and “hydrogenated” oils – even if the serving size says “0” or “<0” for Trans Fats. (Sneaky labeling practices allow “0 Trans Fats” where some do exist) 

We further strive to avoid the run-of-the-mill cheap, refined oils like “Vegetable Oil”, “Corn Oil”, “Cottonseed Oil”, and especially “Palm Oil”, which is refined and highly unsustainable (bad for our Earth) – unless certified by a reputable sustainable palm growers authority. 

4. One detail to know on Chocolate

Yes, chocolate in moderation can provide good antioxidants, but these antioxidants are mostly killed when the chocolate or cocoa is processed with alkali. 

If you see “alkalized” or “alkali” listed, know the goodness has largely been stripped away. 

In case you’re curious… If I absolutely HAD to eat one of the mainstream commercial candies – which would I choose? Well, Nestle Crunch looks to be the least offensive of what was reviewed. However, I’d be sure to eat it with a handful of walnuts or spoonful of sugar-free pure almond butter, to soften the sugar blow! 
 
PS if you do purchase anything through the above links, we receive a small commission, at no cost to you. We’ve included only the treats that we use each year. Thanks for your support and for helping to promote a safer, clean Halloween!

We help travelers enjoy the best delicious and healthy foods to keep them healthy, anywhere. 

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Eat Clean + Breathe Deep + Move Often = Never Settle™

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