There’s no other time during the year where candy is more in-demand than Halloween. Americans spent well north of $2 billion on Halloween candy every year, a figure that continues to rise. The sweet taste of various candy products make them appealing to consumers of all ages; unfortunately, your favorite candy is virtually guaranteed to be brimming with sugar, a substance that is notorious for its ill effects on the human body. As tempting as it may be to indulge in junk food as Halloween approaches, it would wise to replace some of this candy with some healthier options.
Peanuts – There’s several reasons why you should consider eating peanuts instead of candy. For starters, they generally taste pretty good. More importantly, they have candy beat hands-down when it comes to nutritional benefits. Peanuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which fends off troublesome inflammation within the body. This recommendation comes with two caveats; a fair amount of trick-or-treaters are allergic to peanuts. Because of this, it’s highly advisable to have some other treats at the ready. Second, make sure to check the nutrition label before you purchase a container of peanuts, since it could be loaded with salt. If you don’t mind the loss of flavor, unsalted peanuts are another alternative available to shoppers.
Cereal and Granola Bars – Cereal and granola bars make for a very convenient snack for those unable to enjoy more conventional meals. Each of these items comes in a wide variety of flavors, and they often contain significantly less sugar than candy bars. This shouldn’t be taken to mean, however, that all brands of cereal and granola bars have low sugar content. In fact, some brands might contain 15 to 20 grams of sugar per bar, along with certain types of artificial sweeteners. Organic bars, which contain no excess sugars or sugar-derivatives, might represent your best bet.
Popcorn Balls – You’re probably much more likely to associate popcorn with watching movies than with Halloween festivities. Popcorn balls contain a fraction of the sugar found in candy, and also represent a decent source of fiber. Just one 28 ounce gram popcorn ball contains roughly two grams of this nutrient. In terms of size, many popcorn balls are roughly the size of tennis balls, so they won’t take up too much room inside trick-or-treat bags. As an added bonus, popcorn balls do not contain much in the way of sodium.
Trail Mix – Like cereal and grain bars, your local grocery store offers many choices when it comes to trail mix. Common trail mix ingredients include healthy items such as peanuts, almonds, raisins and various kinds of dried fruit. Though they are generally much healthier than what trick-or-treaters usually eat, not all trail mixes possess the same nutritional value. Try to steer clear of mixes that heavily feature chocolate, BBQ flavoring and sugar. In addition, check the calorie count of the trail mix you’re thinking about buying.
Sandwich Crackers – Sandwich crackers are simply two crackers with some kind of ingredient (usually cheese or peanut butter) wedged between them. Store bought sandwich crackers don’t especially qualify as “healthy,” containing a sizable amount of fat and sodium. Despite these shortcomings, sandwich crackers still have much less sugar than what’s usually found in the Halloween candy bowl; many of the offerings put out by popular brands contain roughly 5 to 7 grams of sugar per package. Alternatively, you could easily make healthy sandwich crackers at home using low-fat and low-sodium ingredients.