The Best (and Worst) Healthy Candy Options, According to Dietitians

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 The Best (and Worst) Healthy Candy Options, According to Dietitians


Everyone craves sugar once in a while—and that’s okay! Life is all about balance (holler, 80/20 eating!). With that in mind, we asked a few dietitians to break down their favorite healthy candy options, and which they’d prefer you walk on by. (Related: How Eating Dessert Helped This Dietitian Lose 10 Pounds)

The Best Healthy Candy Choices

Chocolate tops the healthy candy choices among many diet experts due to its antioxidant quotient. (Discover five reasons why dark chocolate is the best treat ever.) All of the below clock in at 200 calories or fewer per serving—a totally doable splurge within your daily calorie range.

  • Hershey’s Miniatures: Special Dark (Serving Size: 5 pieces)
    200 calories; 13g fat; 7g saturated fat; 25mg sodium; 24g carbs; 18g sugar; 3g protein
  • Raisinets, Snack Pack (Serving Size: 1 box)
    150 calories; 6g fat; 3.5g saturated fat; 10mg sodium; 25g carbs; 22g sugar; 1g protein
  • 3 Musketeers Minis (Serving Size: 7 pieces)
    170 calories; 5g fat; 3.5g saturated fat; 80mg sodium; 32g carbs; 27g sugar; 1g protein
  • Snack Size York Peppermint Pattie (Serving Size: 1 piece)
    60 calories; 1g fat; 0.5g saturated fat; 5mg sodium; 14g carbs; 11g sugar
  • Now and Laters (Serving Size: 9 pieces)
    120 calories; 1g fat; 0g saturated fat; 40mg sodium; 28g carbs; 22g sugar; 0g protein
  • Skittles Original Fun Size Mini (Serving Size: 1 pack)
    60 calories; 0.5g fat; 0.5g saturated fat; 14g carbs; 11g sugar; 0g protein
  • Milk Chocolate Kisses filled with Caramel (Serving Size: 9 pieces)
    190 calories; 9g fat; 6g saturated fat; 75mg sodium; 27g carbs; 23g sugar; 3g protein

Some of the Least Healthy Candy Choices

These are among the least healthy candy options due to higher sugar and calorie counts and/or more additives. (Related: Healthy Candy Is a Thing, and Chrissy Teigen Loves It)

  • 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
  • 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
  • Milk Duds (Serving Size: 1 regular-sized box)
    230 calories; 8g fat; 5g saturated fat; 135mg sodium; 38g carbs; 27g sugar; 2g protein
  • Snickers Bar Miniatures (Serving Size: 4 pieces)
    170 calories; 8g fat; 3g saturated fat; 80mg sodium; 22g carbs; 18g sugar; 3g protein
  • Fun Size Baby Ruth (Serving size: 2 bars)
    170 calories; 8g fat; 4.5g saturated fat; 85mg sodium; 24g carbs; 20g sugar; 2g protein
  • Brach’s Milk Maid Caramels (Serving Size: 4 pieces)
    150 calories; 4g fat; 3g saturated fat; 90mg sodium; 25g carbs; 15g sugar; 2g protein
  • Brach’s Candy Corn (Serving Size: 19 pieces)
    140 calories; 0g fat; 70mg sodium; 36g carbs; 32g sugar; 0g protein

7 Tips to Pick Healthy Candy (or Healthyish, at Least!)

Get the dish about how to make the most of your healthy candy choices from Katie Cavuto Boyle, R.D., owner of Nourish. Breath. Thrive. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Marie Spano, R.D., owner of Marie Spano Nutrition Consulting in Atlanta.

  1. Seek out a high percentage of cacao. “If you’re craving chocolate, then the darker, the better. 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.” – Boyle (It might just give you an edge at the gym, too!)
  2. Ghost white chocolate. “White chocolate is your least healthy candy option. 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.” – Boyle
  3. Get nutty. “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.” – Spano (Snickers just launched a new almond butter bar—but is it a healthy candy choice?)
  4. Choose raisins over pretzels or marshmallows. “Raisins are rich in antioxidants and provide extra fiber that you won’t get from chocolate alone.” – Boyle
  5. Make it mini. “Go for the smaller portion sizes instead of big bars, because even if you tell yourself that you’re only going to eat half, you will likely finish the whole thing.” – Spano
  6. Keep healthy candy behind closed doors. “Instead of keeping your candy out in the open where temptation is greatest, like in a bowl beside your bed, place it in the cupboard. That way you won’t be tempted to treat yourself all day long.” – Boyle

Everyone craves sugar once in a while—and that’s okay! Life is all about balance (holler, 80/20 eating!). With that in mind, we asked a few dietitians to break down their favorite healthy candy options, and which they’d prefer you walk on by. (Related: How Eating Dessert Helped This Dietitian Lose 10 Pounds)

The Best Healthy Candy Choices

Chocolate tops the healthy candy choices among many diet experts due to its antioxidant quotient. (Discover five reasons why dark chocolate is the best treat ever.) All of the below clock in at 200 calories or fewer per serving—a totally doable splurge within your daily calorie range.

  • Hershey’s Miniatures: Special Dark (Serving Size: 5 pieces)
    200 calories; 13g fat; 7g saturated fat; 25mg sodium; 24g carbs; 18g sugar; 3g protein
  • Raisinets, Snack Pack (Serving Size: 1 box)
    150 calories; 6g fat; 3.5g saturated fat; 10mg sodium; 25g carbs; 22g sugar; 1g protein
  • 3 Musketeers Minis (Serving Size: 7 pieces)
    170 calories; 5g fat; 3.5g saturated fat; 80mg sodium; 32g carbs; 27g sugar; 1g protein
  • Snack Size York Peppermint Pattie (Serving Size: 1 piece)
    60 calories; 1g fat; 0.5g saturated fat; 5mg sodium; 14g carbs; 11g sugar
  • Now and Laters (Serving Size: 9 pieces)
    120 calories; 1g fat; 0g saturated fat; 40mg sodium; 28g carbs; 22g sugar; 0g protein
  • Skittles Original Fun Size Mini (Serving Size: 1 pack)
    60 calories; 0.5g fat; 0.5g saturated fat; 14g carbs; 11g sugar; 0g protein
  • Milk Chocolate Kisses filled with Caramel (Serving Size: 9 pieces)
    190 calories; 9g fat; 6g saturated fat; 75mg sodium; 27g carbs; 23g sugar; 3g protein

Some of the Least Healthy Candy Choices

These are among the least healthy candy options due to higher sugar and calorie counts and/or more additives. (Related: Healthy Candy Is a Thing, and Chrissy Teigen Loves It)

  • 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
  • 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
  • Milk Duds (Serving Size: 1 regular-sized box)
    230 calories; 8g fat; 5g saturated fat; 135mg sodium; 38g carbs; 27g sugar; 2g protein
  • Snickers Bar Miniatures (Serving Size: 4 pieces)
    170 calories; 8g fat; 3g saturated fat; 80mg sodium; 22g carbs; 18g sugar; 3g protein
  • Fun Size Baby Ruth (Serving size: 2 bars)
    170 calories; 8g fat; 4.5g saturated fat; 85mg sodium; 24g carbs; 20g sugar; 2g protein
  • Brach’s Milk Maid Caramels (Serving Size: 4 pieces)
    150 calories; 4g fat; 3g saturated fat; 90mg sodium; 25g carbs; 15g sugar; 2g protein
  • Brach’s Candy Corn (Serving Size: 19 pieces)
    140 calories; 0g fat; 70mg sodium; 36g carbs; 32g sugar; 0g protein

7 Tips to Pick Healthy Candy (or Healthyish, at Least!)

Get the dish about how to make the most of your healthy candy choices from Katie Cavuto Boyle, R.D., owner of Nourish. Breath. Thrive. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Marie Spano, R.D., owner of Marie Spano Nutrition Consulting in Atlanta.

  1. Seek out a high percentage of cacao. “If you’re craving chocolate, then the darker, the better. 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.” – Boyle (It might just give you an edge at the gym, too!)
  2. Ghost white chocolate. “White chocolate is your least healthy candy option. 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.” – Boyle
  3. Get nutty. “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.” – Spano (Snickers just launched a new almond butter bar—but is it a healthy candy choice?)
  4. Choose raisins over pretzels or marshmallows. “Raisins are rich in antioxidants and provide extra fiber that you won’t get from chocolate alone.” – Boyle
  5. Make it mini. “Go for the smaller portion sizes instead of big bars, because even if you tell yourself that you’re only going to eat half, you will likely finish the whole thing.” – Spano
  6. Keep healthy candy behind closed doors. “Instead of keeping your candy out in the open where temptation is greatest, like in a bowl beside your bed, place it in the cupboard. That way you won’t be tempted to treat yourself all day long.” – Boyle



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