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Healthier Ways to Halloween

The few houses that dared to give out apples or small boxes of raisins on Halloween were usually bypassed the next year. But that’s changing as society becomes more informed about the detriments of poor eating habits.

“More households are buying healthier snacks on a regular basis, so kids are more likely see things like yogurt-covered raisins as a treat,” said Danielle Lockard, RD, an outpatient dietician at Springfield Hospital.

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Chocolate-covered raisins are another healthy alternative to Halloween candy that’s likely to go over well. M&M’s Peanut Chocolate Candy is the rare candy with some nutritional value, though trail mix or granola bars are better options. “Kids are getting a good amount of healthy fats and protein with any of them,” Lockard said.

If you’re a traditionalist, opt for dark chocolate over milk chocolate, which has a much higher sugar content. But, be careful: Not everything that’s advertised as dark chocolate actually is. Genuine dark chocolate will have a percentage listed somewhere on the packaging. Anything greater than 72% is safe choice.

While sugar-free candy may seem like a better option than the standard variety, it’s not. Sugar-free foods contain sugar alcohols, some of which are man-made. “We don’t want foods created in a lab in our diets,” Lockard said. “And, there’s a laundry-list of unhealthy ingredients that are added to sugar-free foods to make them taste good.”

Not to be overlooked in all of this is cost. A 15-piece bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Spooky Eyeballs runs about $5, whereas a box of 12 dark chocolate KIND bars is $15. Healthy snacks are generally more expensive than candy. But you can offset much of that difference by buying only what you’ll need for the night.