While most of the food that will wind up in your trick or treat bag or in your hand out dish this Halloween will be unhealthy, there are some candies and treats that do have some nutritious benefits and are healthier than others. If you are going to indulge in your favorite candy and sweet tooth, here are the best choices:
1. Payday- The Payday is comprised mostly of peanuts and is relatively low in saturated fat compared to most candy bars. Peanuts are full of mono-unsaturated fatty acids, particularly oleic acid. It helps lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol).
Peanuts also contain poly-phenolic antioxidants, primarily p-coumaric acid, which may reduce the risk of stomach cancer by limiting the forming of carcinogenic nitrosamines in the stomach. They are rich in vitamin E, contain a variety of essential minerals, and are a decent source of protein.
2. Almond Joy- A combination of chocolate and almonds, both of these carry some health benefits, particularly almonds. Almonds are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, as well as phyto-chemicals. They too are a great source of vitamin E and mono-unsaturated fats that lower bad cholesterol.
Vitamin E is a lipid soluble antioxidant that protects the skin from damaging free radicals and maintains the integrity of cellular mucus membranes. A great source of energy, almonds are rich in vitamin B, including folate, B-6, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and thiamine. There is definitely some protein packed in almonds as well.
Chocolate is a good source of macronutrients, essential minerals, and antioxidants, especially dark chocolate. Polyphenols are antioxidants that prevent damage caused by oxidative stress and free radicals. Research reveals that polyphenols may also reduce your risk of developing heart disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis.
3. Apples- Every once in a while if you’re lucky, you might get an apple thrown into your trick or treat bag. Hopefully, it’s not a candy apple, and if it is, you’re just going to have to remove the caramel if you can. Also, red apples are healthier than green or other colored apples as they carry less sucrose than their relatives. Apples are full of phyto-nutrients and antioxidants. Low in calories, they are rich in dietary fiber, flavonoids and polyphenolics, which protect the body from free radicals. They are also a good source of vitamin C as well as B vitamins.
4. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups- Peanut butter is an excellent source of mono and poly-unsaturated fats, which have heart protecting benefits, and it contains a decent amount of protein. It is also high in fiber and vitamin E.
5. Peanut M & Ms- They contain mostly peanuts and a little bit of chocolate. Like the payday, any snack or candy comprised mostly of nuts (legumes) is an excellent choice over the other ones.
As you can see, when it comes to choosing the best Halloween candy and snacks, the idea is to stick with the dark chocolate and nut variety, particularly these three. Remember, never eat too much as all snacks and candies are loaded with sugar and sodium, but if you are going to indulge, a little bit of these will be relatively fine and give you as many nutrients and healthy benefits as you can ask for.