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Healthier Candy Selections

Candy Coded: What You Need to Know About Your Favorite Sweets

We are excited to share one of our fave stories from Fitness Magazine here on FitSugar!

It seems like these days there's always a reason for a sweet treat — holidays, baby showers, birthdays, and the list goes on. We could tell you not to eat it, but unless you have the willpower of a saint everyone craves sugar once in a while. To help, we got the dish on the best drugstore treats to nibble on and the ones to completely nix.

1. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
"If you're craving chocolate, then the darker, the better," says Katie Cavuto Boyle, RD, owner of Healthy Bites. "Dark chocolate has less sugar, is dairy-free, and is rich in antioxidants that have been shown to reduce blood pressure and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease."

  • Nibble: Hershey's Miniatures: Special Dark
    Serving Size: 5 pieces
    200 calories; 13g fat; 7g saturated fat; 25mg sodium; 24g carbs; 18g sugar; 3g protein
  • Nix: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures
    Serving Size: 5 pieces
    220 calories; 13g fat; 5g saturated fat; 130mg sodium; 26g carbs; 23g sugar; 4g protein

2. Go Nuts!
"Chocolate that contains nuts may be even better for you, because the nuts contain a variety of nutrients and healthy fats that may displace some of the total chocolate, sugar, etc.," says Marie Spano, RD, owner of Marie Spano Nutrition Consulting in Atlanta.

  • Nibble: Dove Silky Smooth Almond Milk Chocolate Bar
    Serving Size: 1 bar
    190 calories; 12g fat; 6g saturated fat; 20mg sodium; 18g carbs; 16g sugar; 3g protein
  • Nix: Twix Caramel Cookie Bars
    Serving Size: 2 cookies (1 pack)
    250 calories; 12g fat; 9g saturated fat; 100mg sodium; 33g carbs; 24g sugar; 2g protein/li>

More suggestions for making the better candy choice after the break.

3. White? Out!
"White chocolate is your least healthy option," says Boyle. "It doesn't actually contain any cocoa — only cocoa butter — and it's packed with sugar and added fat from the extra milk products used."

  • Nibble: Kit Kat Snack Size
    Serving Size: 3 packs
    210 calories; 11g fat; 7g saturated fat; 30mg sodium; 27g carbs; 21g sugar; 3g protein
  • Nix: Hershey's Bliss White Chocolate Meltaway
    Serving Size: 6 pieces
    230 calories; 14g fat; 9g saturated fat; 70mg sodium; 24g carbs; 24g sugar; 3g protein

4. Go to Grape Lengths
If you love chocolate-covered anything, opt for raisins over pretzels or marshmallows. "Raisins are rich in antioxidants and provide extra fiber that you won't get from chocolate alone," says Boyle.

  • Nibble: Raisinets, Snack Pack
    Serving Size: 1 box
    150 calories; 6g fat; 3.5g saturated fat; 10mg sodium; 25g carbs; 22g sugar; 1g protein
  • Nix: Milk Duds
    Serving Size: 1 regular-sized box
    230 calories; 8g fat; 5g saturated fat; 135mg sodium; 38g carbs; 27g sugar; 2g protein

5. Lighten Up
"Some of the unhealthiest candy choices are loaded with sugar, fat, and artery-clogging saturated fat," says Boyle. "3 Musketeers is a good alternative, as it is significantly lower in calories and fat."

  • Nibble: 3 Musketeers Minis
    Serving Size: 7 pieces
    70 calories; 5g fat; 3.5g saturated fat; 80mg sodium; 32g carbs; 27g sugar; 1g protein
  • Nix: Snickers Bar Miniatures
    Serving Size: 4 pieces
    170 calories; 8g fat; 3g saturated fat; 80mg sodium; 22g carbs; 18g sugar; 3g protein

6. Chew on This
"Caramels contain a high percentage of saturated fat, so if you're looking for something chewy, you're better off with a low-calorie candy, like Now and Later, that takes longer to eat," says Boyle

  • Nibble: Now and Laters
    Serving Size: 9 pieces
    120 calories; 1g fat; 0g saturated fat; 40mg sodium; 28g carbs; 22g sugar; 0g protein
  • Nix: Brach's Milk Maid Caramels
    Serving Size: 4 pieces
    150 calories; 4g fat; 3g saturated fat; 90mg sodium; 25g carbs; 15g sugar; 2g protein

Read on for more smart candy choices this Halloween

More from FITNESS:

Fast Food: Low-Cal 30 Minute Dinners

20 Ways to Shop Smarter, Cook Faster, and Eat Healthier

Live to 100: 10 Diet Tips to Live Longer

Source: Flickr User turtlemom4bacon

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Join The Conversation
Gabriela-Une-Vie-Saine Gabriela-Une-Vie-Saine 4 years
Haha, I actually shadowed the RD mentioned (Katie Cavuto Boyle) for a few days last summer! Funny enough, I love dark and white chocolate, but could take or leave milk.
moongoddesse moongoddesse 4 years
My favorite new way to beat that Chocolate Craving....Blue Diamond Oven Roasted Almonds Dark Chocolate, 1oz (about 24 kernels) is 160 Cal, 13g fat, 35mg sodium, 180mg Potassium, 9g Carbs, 3g fiber, 4g sugar, 5g protein, and a number of other good nutrients......problem is I have only found them at one store in my area so they aren't easy for me to get a hold of.
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