Unhealthiest Halloween Candy, Healthier Swaps

Hillcrest South dietitian Nasrin Sinichi, MS, RD/LD, joins us on the blog today to reveal some of the unhealthiest Halloween candy and what you should eat instead.

Candy Corn

This candy is high in sugar, which causes an insulin boost and a sugar spike that makes you want more.

Contain: 22 pieces (serving): 140 calories, no fat or saturated fat, 28 grams sugar.  Stay away.

Dum-Dum Pops

After just a few licks, we tend to crunch right down on these. They can be hard on teeth, especially since the hard candy can get stuck in molars.

Contain: 2 pops (serving): 51 calories, no fat or saturated fat, 10 grams sugar. Best bet for calorie counters who need a tiny sweet fix.

Milky Way Fun-Size Bars

This chocolate has a gooey caramel center, which stays longer in your teeth and provides opportunity for cavities to grow. 

Contain: 2 fun-size bars (serving): 150 calories, 6 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 20 grams sugar. Avoid these, mostly because of the steep saturated fat count.

M&M's Fun Size Pouch

 Believe it or not, these are not a bad choice, since the peanuts have protein to pack some nutritional value. (Dark chocolate is even better because of the antioxidant benefits.). 

Contain: 1 pouch (serving): 90 calories, 5 grams fat, 1.7 grams saturated fat, 9 grams sugar. Thumbs-up.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup

The combo of peanut butter and milk chocolate gives this treat a high fat count. 

Contain: 1 cup (serving): 88 calories, 5 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 8 grams sugar.  Stay away, since the grams of fat and calories can add up quickly.


These chewy candies are high in fructose corn syrup and can also stick to dental work.

Contain: 1 fun-size packet (serving): 60 calories, 0.67 grams of fat, no saturated fat, 11 grams sugar.  Okay to nibble, as long as you stick to one pack.

3 Musketeers Fun-Size Bar

Their fluffy texture (read: air) makes these bars feel substantial. No caramel is a plus.

Contain: 3 fun-size bars (serving): 190 calories, 6 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 30 grams sugar.  The most-bang-for-your-calories choice: Space these bars out throughout your day.

Tootsie Roll Midgees

Their gooey, ultra-chewy composition can stick to molars and between teeth. On the plus side, they're low in fat. 

Contain: 6 pieces (serving): 140 calories, 3 grams fat, no saturated fat, 21 grams sugar.  They take a while to chew, thus extending your sugar indulgence.


These chewy twists can be hard to bite. They look simple, but zero grams of fiber and protein makes them a pure sugar bomb that turns to fat.

Contain: 4 pieces (serving): 150 calories, 1 gram fat, no saturated fat, 21 grams sugar.  Stay away. High calories for only four ropes.

Lifesavers/Sugar-free gum

Sugar-free versions of treats or gum are better choices.

Sugar-Free Lifesavers Contain: 5 pieces (serving): Contain: 30 calories, no fats or sugar. sugar-free versions of candies will be your best options. 

Butterfinger Bar (fun size bar)

Contain: 100 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated), 10 g sugars.  Butterfinger is the worst offender—there's no quicker way to swallow 100 calories.

Eat This, Instead! 3 Musketeers (fun size bar), with 63 calories,  2 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 10 g sugars

Brach’s Airheads (3 pieces)

Contain: 140 calories, 1.5 g fat (1 g saturated), 19 g sugars.  The basic formula for an Airhead: Sugar and filler carbohydrates, artificial colors and flavors, and partially hydrogenated oils, a source of trans fat.

Eat This, Instead! Spangler Dum Dum Pops (3 pops), 77 calories, 0 g fat, 105 g sugars

Twix Miniatures (3 pieces)

Contain: 150 calories, 8 g fat (6 g saturated), 15 g sugars. Twix has the worst saturated fat profile of any candy in your kid’s trick-or-treat bag.

Eat This Instead! Tootsie Roll (3 pieces), 70 calories, 1.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 9.5 g sugars

Brach’s Milk Maid Caramels (4 pieces)

Contain: 160 calories, 4.5 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 16 g sugars. This candy contains a couple milk derivatives (whey and lipolyzed butter fat), but it hardly constitutes a dairy product. Plus, 90 percent of the fat is saturated.

Eat This, Instead! Now and Later (4 pieces), 53 calories, 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated), 10 g sugars

Reese’s Pumpkin

Contain: 170 calories, 10 g fat (3 g saturated), 16 g sugars

It’s simply an oversized peanut butter cup shaped into a pumpkin. Nearly two-thirds more calories than a regular Reese’s peanut butter cup!

Eat This, Instead! Reese's Bite Size Peanut Butter Cups (2 pieces), 72 calories, 4 g fat (3 g saturated), 6 g sugars

Chewy candy

Like Dots (150 calories and 22 grams sugar in two mini-boxes) and Fruit Gushers (90 calories and 12 grams sugar per pouch)

Eat This, Instead!  Chewy treat that has no calories or is naturally sweet. Try a piece of Ice Breakers gum (with no fat, calories, or sugar) or a mini-box of raisins (45 calories, 0 grams fat, 10 grams naturally occurring sugars) 

Chocolate bars with high-calorie caramel and peanut butter added

Like Take 5 bars (105 calories, 5.5 grams of fat and 9 grams of sugar per fun-size bar)

Eat This, Instead! Chocolate treats with something low-calorie added (like puffy grains). Try mini Quaker Chewy Granola Bars (60 calories, 2 grams fat, and 4 grams sugar per bar) or fun-size Nestle Crunch Bars (60 calories, 3 grams fat, 7 grams sugar) 

Chocolate bars filled with caramel, toffee or coconut

Like Heath Miniatures, Contain: 115 calories, 7 grams fat, and 13 grams sugar for 3 bite-size pieces

Eat This, Instead! Plain milk or dark chocolate fun-size bars, like Hershey's fun-size bar (67 calories, 4 grams fat, 8 grams sugar). Bonus: You can also use these for baking or to make s’mores 

Candy bars made with white chocolate

Like Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme, Contain: 73 calories, 4 grams fat, and 6.3 grams sugar per fun size bar

Eat This, Instead! Dark chocolate treats, like 3 Musketeers Mint fun-size bars (63 calories, 2.3 grams fat and 9 grams sugar per bar) and Dove Dark Chocolate pieces (84 calories, 5 grams fat and 7.6 grams sugar for two foil-wrapped pieces). White chocolate not only has more saturated fat than any other type of chocolate, but lacks the healthy phytochemicals found in cocoa and dark chocolate.