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The Best And Worst Halloween Candies For Your Waistline

Beatrice Verhoeven, Sarah Allen |
October 16, 2013 | 10:17 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporters

You'll want to do some candy swapping this Halloween to keep in shape (npr.org).
You'll want to do some candy swapping this Halloween to keep in shape (npr.org).

You may look good in your Halloween costume right now, but will it still fit next year? Check out which Halloween candies are best and worst for your waistline.


Tootsie Rolls

These chewy chocolate candies are small enough in size that each “midgee” Tootsie Roll is a mere 23 calories. As always, beware of portion size. But if you simply cannot limit yourself to only one piece of candy (and who can?), Tootsie Rolls may be your best option. 6 pieces contain only 3 grams of fat. Sure, the 19 grams of sugar may be nutritionally empty, but that goes for all candies. So if you absolutely must feed your chocolate addiction this October 31, Tootsie Rolls will satisfy without leaving you with too much guilt the next day. 


Starbursts are far less nutritious than real fruit, but these chewy, fruity candies are still a good choice. At 130 calories per serving, Starbursts won’t wreck too much havoc on your waistline, provided you stick to the 9 piece portion-size. Starbursts have the added bonus of being fat free. But do take note of their high sugar content (22 grams). Though their first ingredient is corn syrup, in comparison to Butterfingers, Snickers, or Milky Way, Starbursts look far less sinister.


Their name may imply stupidity, but the trick-or-treater who recognizes Dum-Dums as a healthier option is anything but dumb. Two grape-flavored Dum-Dums are only 50 calories and have only 10 grams of sugar (less than Starbursts or Tootsie Rolls). As an added bonus, sucking on these fat-free lollipops will take longer than chowing down on candy bars that disappear in a few bites. For the health-conscious Halloween lover, Dum-Dums are an intelligent pick.

Halloween Peeps

Peeps are traditionally an Easter treat, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the Halloween version of these fluffy marshmallow candies. The snack-size marshmallow chicks are only 140 calories per serving, making each individual Peep only 17.5 calories. Surprisingly, one serving size also includes 1 gram of protein to balance out the 32 grams of carbohydrates. Give Halloween Peeps a chance and you’ll be able to fit into your Halloween costume long past Easter.

Jolly Ranchers

Jolly Ranchers lovers have plenty to be happy about this Halloween. At 70 calories for 3 pieces, Jolly Ranchers have an impressive portion size for a reasonable amount of calories. Like Dum-Dums, these hard candies last longer than Hershey kisses that vanish in one bite.

Peanut M&Ms

Unlike regular M&Ms, peanut M&Ms offer the nutritional benefits and healthy fats of peanuts. A fun-size package is only 90 calories. However, avoid the 250 calories and 13 grams of fat in a regular size package -- unless you want peanut M&Ms to be your only treat this Halloween.

Dark chocolate

You've probably heard all the talk about the health benefits of dark chocolate, which can lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular function when consumed in moderation. Hershey’s mini dark chocolate bars contain slightly over 40 calories per bar, so chocolate lovers can feel free to indulge in two or three. If you’re a chocolate addict, make sure that it’s dark chocolate, rather than white or milk chocolate, that feeds your addiction this October 31.

Caramel apples are a healthy Halloween treat (themarthablog.com).
Caramel apples are a healthy Halloween treat (themarthablog.com).
Caramel apples

Sure, those packaged fruit snacks look appealing, but what offers more of a nutritional benefit: an artificially flavored fruit gummy or an actual piece of fruit? A medium apple packs in 4 grams of soluble fiber and 14% of the suggested daily value of Vitamin C. The sticky, sugary exterior may get stuck in your teeth, but these caramel-covered treats contain all the nutrients of a regular apple with an indulgent twist.


Baby Ruth

The funny and deceiving thing about this "fun-sized" candy bar is that you might think you are consuming far less calories and fat than you actually are. The truth is that the combination of peanut butter and chocolate has a crazy amount of just that in their tiny bars: 83 calories, 4 grams of fat and 10 grams of sugar. Is one bite of chocolate really worth those numbers?


The same goes for this candy bar, except this one is even unhealthier. Don't be deceived by its coconut filling -- the filling is high in fat and boosts the calorie tally to 250, with 13 grams of fat and 21 grams of sugar.


We used to think that Twizzlers were healthier, as licorice has all kinds of health benefits, acting as antibacterial, anti-viral and expectorant. According to Reader's Digest, however, just four pieces of this candy has 150 calories, 1 gram of fat and 21 grams of sugar. That's as much as, if not more, than a piece of chocolate. And although they don't have a lot of fat, the candy has a lot of sugar, which can turn into fat.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate AND peanut butter is deathly. According to their website, just one cup has 105 calories, 6.5 grams of fat and 10.5 grams of sugar. With no Vitamin A or C and small levels of calcium and iron, it's just a cup of empty calories. Opt for candies without peanut butter if you are calorie-conscious.

Butterfinger Minis

We all think that having mini versions of a candy will be healthier and we will feel a little less guilty. Truth is, just four pieces has 180 calories, 8 grams of fat and 18 grams of sugar! According to Reader's Digest, each little mini Butterfinger has 45 calories and 2 grams of fat. Interestingly, it would take a 145-pound person a 30-minute brisk walk to burn off four pieces of this calorie bomb.


This chocolate bar is definitely one of the more whopping candy bars out there. According to their website, one bar has 250 calories, 12 grams of fat and 27 grams (wow) of sugar! What's worse, the calories from fat are 110 calories --- that means a boost in cholesterol and your waist size if you eat too many of these. We would recommend staying away from these, and opt for starbursts instead.

Milky Way

Although the manufacturers use skim milk and egg whites, one bar is still unhealthy. While it has less calories and far less fat than a Snickers bar, it isn't any more healthy. One of these bars has 240 calories with 9 grams of fat and 31 grams of sugar. To put that into perspective, 31 grams of sugar is about 8 sugar cubes -- in just ONE bar. 

Kit Kat

We all know they are unhealthy. It's just chocolate and a crisp wafer, after all. According to the Kit Kat website, these yummy treats have 210 calories with a whopping 90 calories from fat, 11 grams of total fat and 21 grams of sugar. While it doesn't own up to it's Snickers competitor, it still has no nutritional value in terms of vitamins, calcium or iron. 

Almond Joy

This candy bar is the overall winner of the fattiest bar. According to it's website, 50% of it's calories are calories from fat, which means that it's equally as bad for you as it may be good. Although this chocolate bar has non-fat milk in it, there are many unhealthy ingredients used to maintain the freshness and color of the bar. And just because this bar has coconut in it, doesn't make it healthy. Just like a Mound, the coconut filling is high in fat and boosts the calorie count up to 220 calories with 13 grams of fat and 20 grams of sugar! 

Before you dig in to these yummy but dangerous treats, think again. Not only do they largely contribute to weight gain, but they are unhealthy in general. Opt for the more healthy options mentioned, or snack on fruit snacks or fruit if you don't want to consume empty calories. Remain your beautiful self throughout the Halloween season.

Reach Staff Reporters Beatrice Verhoeven and Sarah Allen.



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