Westchester Hospital Dietician Discusses Healthier Halloween Candy Alternatives

Posted on: October 12, 2013

5 Healthier Halloween Candy Choices 

by Stephanie Perruzza, MS, RD, CDN, Northern Westchester Hospital

Jack-O-Lantern2Let’s be honest, when October rolls around we all know that we look forward to the large displays of Halloween candy in the supermarkets. This can be quite the competitive holiday for trick-or-treaters, challenging who can cover the most trick-or-treating ground collecting the most candy.  It’s no shock that Halloween candy can be high in fat and sugar, which is why it’s important to watch your portions so the calories don’t add up.  To stay on track keep in mind these simple tips when it comes to candy hunting:

  1. Candy Claims – “Sugar free” labeled candy doesn’t mean calorie or fat free.  Eat a smaller ‘fun’, ‘mini’ or ‘snack size’ of a specific candy brand to satisfy your candy fix without the excess calories.
  2. Portion Out – It’s easy for the candy mounds to pile up on your kitchen counter and in your child’s lunchbox. It’s best to portion out 1-2 pieces of candy and pack the rest away to avoid overeating.
  3. Eat Before Treat – serve a healthy, well-balanced meal before the trick or treating festivities begin. This allows you to avoid temptation to snack on the candy you collect throughout the night – remember, you want to come home with some!

Treat Not Trick

Don’t be tricked by treats this Halloween! It’s important to have fun and celebrate the holiday by treating yourself to your favorite candy without overindulging. Look for these healthier candy choices this year and be sure to stick with one serving. Note: all candies listed below contain zero trans fats.

#1 Smarties

As the name implies, smarties are a wise Halloween candy choice with one serving (one roll) containing 25 calories, 0 grams of fat and 6 grams of sugar.  Smarties are also gluten, dairy, soy and nut free.

#2 Dove Dark Chocolate Minis

For three pieces, this delicious and indulgent treat is 123 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat, 10 grams of sugar and 1.3 grams of protein. Bonus: dark chocolate contains more cocoa and antioxidants, which research has shown aids in heart health.

#3 York Peppermint Pattie

There’s something about this dark chocolate minty treat that allows your eyes to bulge with sensation! Each snack size pattie contains 60 calories, 0.5 grams of saturated fat and 11 grams of sugar.

#4 Raisinets

Raisins alone pose many health benefits due to their fiber and antioxidant content.  This doesn’t mean you can eat them covered in chocolate as much as you want! Stick to one fun size bag of raisinets, which has 67 calories, 1.7 grams saturated fat and 9.7 grams of sugar.

#5 Mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups

In my opinion, chocolate and peanut butter are a match made in Halloween candy heaven. One mini Reeses contains only 44 calories, 1 gram of saturated fat and 4.6 grams of sugar.

Happy Trick or Treating from Northern Westchester Hospital!!!

Below are a few yummy recipes to try at your next Halloween party!!

Caramel Popcorn

Courtesy of Myrecipes.com


Cooking spray

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

½ cup light-colored corn syrup

1/3 cup butter

1 Tbsp. light molasses

1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

12 cups popcorn (popped without salt or fat)


1. Preheat oven to 250°

2. Coat a large jelly roll pan with cooking spray

3. Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and molasses in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cook 5 minutes, stirring one. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Place popcorn in a large bowl; pour sugar mixture over popcorn in a steady stream, stirring to coat.

4. Spread popcorn mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 250° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

5. Remove from oven; stir to break up any large clumps. Cool 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 2/3 cup

Calories 126

Protein 0.7g

Fat 3.6g

Sat Fat 2.2g

Mono Fat 1.1g

Poly Fat 0.2g

Carbohydrates 23.9g

Fiber 0.8g

Sodium 151mg

Cholesterol 9mg

Chocolate Spiders

Courtesy of Food.com


8 (1 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate baking squares

2 cups miniature marshmallows

Shoestring black licorice or shoestring red licorice

24 small candy-coated chocolates, round


1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate for 2 minutes at 50% power, stirring after 1 minute.  Stir until melted; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in marshmallows.  Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Cut licorice into 2-inch pieces; press eight pieces into each mound for legs.  Press two chocolate balls into each for eyes.  Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 each

Calories 58.5

Protein 0.4g

Fat 2.8g

Sat Fat 1.6g

Carbohydrates 9.3g

Fiber 0.5g

Sodium 4.3mg

Cholesterol 0mg

Dracula’s Eyes

Courtesy of Food.com


½ cup peanut butter

3 Tbsp. butter, softened

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

20 M&M’s plain chocolate candy

4 oz. vanilla candy coating

red decorating gel

black decorating gel


1. In a mixing bowl stir together peanut butter and butter

2. Gradually add powdered sugar, stirring until combined.

3. Shape into 1-inch balls; place on waxed paper.

4. Let stand about 20 minutes until dry.

5. In a small saucepan melt candy coating over low heat.

6. Dip balls, one at a time, into coating. Let excess coating drip off peanut butter balls. Place on waxed paper.

9. Immediately press an M&M into center of peanut butter ball.

10. Let stand until coating is firm

11. Add a dot of black gel to the center of candy pieces for pupils.

12. Drizzle red gel onto balls for bloodshot eyes

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 ball

Calories 107

Protein 1.9g

Fat 6.8g

Sat Fat 2.8g

Carbohydrates 10.6g

Fiber 0.3g

Sodium 47mg

Cholesterol 5.3mg