Best candy for you

Fall is here — and with the cooler weather comes bag after bag of Halloween candy on display at your local drugstore. Walking down all of those aisles stuffed with sweet, spooky treats sure makes it tempting to pick up a few.

While Halloween candy wouldn’t be classified as a health food, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy any without feeling guilt afterward. “My philosophy is that you can have these things in moderation,” says Amy Gorin, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, New Jersey.

There are a few strategies you can use to keep yourself in check. “One thing that I like to suggest is to only buy Halloween candy the week of — or maybe even the day before — Halloween so that it’s not sitting around your house and you’re not inclined to eat it before trick-or-treaters come over,” says Natalie Rizzo, RD, New York city-based registered dietitian.

When you do head to the store for bulk Halloween candy, pick up ones that come in bite-size, individually wrapped packaging, says Gorin — and see if you can limit yourself to one or two. Take a long time to chew on a piece of candy so that you really savor the flavor and feel satisfied after just a little bit, suggests Gorin.

A study found that people ate about two more pieces of candy when it was placed in clear bowls near their desks versus in opaque containers further away from them.

Another tip: Store your Halloween candy on a top shelf in a sealed container so it’s out of sight, says Samantha Cassetty, RD. “That way when you’re reaching for it, you’re doing so with purpose and mindfulness,” she says. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that people ate about two more pieces of candy when it was placed in clear bowls near their desks versus when candy was stored in opaque containers further away from them.

But what if you do down a whole bag of candy corn or peanut butter cups in one sitting? “Obviously, it’s a hard time of year — if you’re at an office, there’s probably a candy bowl, and if your kids are trick or treating, it’s hard to say, ‘I’m not going to touch it,’” says Gorin. “If you have more than planned, just start over right away. Say, ‘OK, I ate too much candy, and right now I’m going to stop.'”


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Now that you know how to snack on Halloween candy wisely, it’s time to figure out what you should have. Along with our experts, we’ve sized up the nutritional labels of some of the most popular Halloween candies, with a strong focus on calories, portion size and sugar content so that you can make better choices in the lead-up to Oct. 31. (To keep things in perspective, the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar intake to 37 grams for men and 25 for women per day.)

Nutritionist Pick #1: Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers

One serving — eight pieces — of these brightly colored gummy worms comes in at 100 calories and 14 grams of sugar. Cassetty points out that due to their flavor and texture, oftentimes a smaller amount of gummies goes a long way — so you may not find the need to polish off eight worms. If you eat three of them, you’re taking in just north of five grams of sugar. “I know that there’s a bunch of artificial junk in there and things you don’t want to be doing everyday, but they’re chewy, so you can eat them slowly,” says Cassetty. (And remember: The longer you take to finish a piece of candy, the more satisfied you’ll feel.)

Nutritionist Pick #2: Snack-Size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

A single peanut butter cup has 110 calories and 11 grams of sugar. Despite the sugar content, it’s still a top choice given that it’s individually wrapped and does have some protein (two grams) and fiber (one gram), says Gorin. “The protein and fiber will help keep you fuller longer,” she says.

Nutritionist Pick #3: Charms Blow Pop

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Although this lollipop with gum in the center has 13 grams of sugar, it’s only 70 calories. The low calorie count and the fact that sucking on one will occupy you for a while make this choice another acceptable treat. “It takes a while to eat, so you’re satisfying that craving for sweet over a period of time,” says Rizzo.

The Best — and Worst — of the Rest (in That Order)

Of course, the Halloween candy options are practically endless. Here are how some of the other popular picks fare.

Snickers Miniatures

Like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, a four-piece serving of Snickers Minatiatures does offer you some protein (three grams) and fiber (one gram), which can help keep you full. But one serving has 170 calories and 18 grams of sugar. Gorin likes this candy if you only eat one, which knocks your sugar intake down to less than five grams.

TWIX Caramel Cookie Bars Minis

Three of these bite-size crunchy candies come to 150 calories and 15 grams of sugar. That’s why Cassetty suggests sticking to one individually wrapped piece, which’ll set you back only five grams of sugar. “Re-think how you approach candy,” says Cassetty. “Instead of looking at it as, ‘I can only have one,’ view that one piece as a treat.”

Kit Kat Minis

“I like chocolate candies more, especially if they come in small packages,” says Rizzo. These tiny Kit Kats clock in at 170 calories and 17 grams of sugar for four pieces. Again, our experts recommend limiting yourself to one piece to stay under five grams of sugar.

Twizzlers Strawberry Twists

Rizzo notes that while some chocolate candies may have more sugar than Twizzlers, they’re at least giving you a little fiber and protein. But at 120 calories and 16 grams of sugar for three pieces, Twizzlers aren’t a terrible choice if you eat less than the serving size. Cassetty suggests limiting yourself to one Twizzler (so that you stay at about five grams of sugar) and taking your time eating it. “One Twizzler seems like a decent way to get a sweet fix,” she says. Gorin adds that because it can be difficult to stop at one, focus on taking small bites and enjoying the experience.

Tootsie Roll Minis

“Tootsie Rolls are chewy, so you can take your time to enjoy them,” says Cassetty. Four mini Tootsie rolls have 150 calories and 19 grams of sugar but no protein or fiber. As our experts have advised for the other candies on our list, cut down the serving size and stick to one piece to limit your sugar intake. One mini Tootsie Roll has less than five grams of sugar.

Brach’s Candy Corn

Ah, candy corn — you’ve sadly earned the lowest score of all Halloween candies. A serving size of candy corn — 19 pieces—is 140 calories and 28 grams of sugar. Since candy corn comes in a bag (and not in smaller portions), this one doesn’t get very high marks. “If you have three pieces, it’s not so bad, but most people don’t do that,” says Rizzo.

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How to Adult-ify Your Halloween Candy Craving

Classic Halloween candies aren’t your only choice if you have a hankering for something sweet. Consider satiating your craving with individually wrapped 1-ounce pieces of dark chocolate, which have health benefits that super-sugary, relatively nutrient-free Halloween candy doesn’t, says Gorin. (For example, according to a study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, dark chocolate contains antioxidants —known as flavanols — that could protect your heart.) Rizzo is a fan of Kind minis, which clock in at only 100 calories and have varieties made with dark chocolate, along with more nutritional value than candy.


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One more reason not to binge on black licorice, the most divisive candy

When my Vox colleagues ranked Halloween candy from best to worst, they put Twizzlers near the bottom. “The perfect candy for someone who would like to feel the thrill of chewing on a candle” is how Caroline Framke and Alex Abad-Santos described licorice.

Black licorice seems much more reviled than red licorice. And now there’s yet another reason to hate this divisive candy.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, if you eat 2 ounces of black licorice — the equivalent of about four Twizzler vines — daily for at least two weeks, you could wind up in the hospital with an irregular heartbeat or even heart failure.

That’s a lot of licorice — maybe more than most licorice lovers eat in a day. But the FDA is onto something: Licorice root contains a medically active compound called glycyrrhizin acid, and researchers have been discussing its potential health complications for years. Glycyrrhizin can elevate a person’s blood pressure, leading some to experience abnormal heart rhythms, lethargy, even congestive heart failure. Glycyrrhizin can also interfere with other medications and supplements, the FDA warned.

“No matter what your age, don’t eat large amounts of black licorice at one time,” the agency said, adding that people over 40 with a history of heart disease or high blood pressure seem to be most at risk of black licorice-related health complications.

An even better reason not to eat 2 ounces of candy a day

Before we start worrying too much about glycyrrhizin, though, let’s revisit the other candy ingredient with a far greater overall impact on public health: sugar.

Two ounces of candy corn, for instance, contains 38 grams of sugar. That’s about 10 grams more than the recommended daily limit.

As I’ve explained, there’s a mountain of research on all the ways a sugar-heavy diet can harm our health. Increased risks of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, and heart disease are just some of the most well-established examples.

A high intake of sugar is associated with heart problems. That’s likely because sugar increases triglycerides in the blood, which may also help harden the arteries and thicken artery walls — driving up the risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart disease.

Finally, there’s good evidence that people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages are at an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, regardless of their body fat.

We’re now entering peak sugar season. In 2017, the candy industry expects Halloween will bring in a record $2.75 billion in retail sales.

If you took all the candy that’s sold during Halloween week and turned it into a giant ball, like the one looming over the nation’s capital below, it’d be as large as six Titanics and weigh 300,000 tons.

Javier Zarracina/Vox

Further reading:

  • The case for eliminating sugar. All of it.
  • We need to call American breakfast what it often is: dessert
  • Sugar, explained

Hershey’s (NYSE:HSY), the maker of the top selling licorice brand, Twizzlers, has responded to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) warning that eating too much black licorice could land you in the hospital.

Continue Reading Below

“As with any treat or candy, we recommend you enjoy licorice in moderation and as part of an overall balanced diet,” Jeff Beckman, a spokesperson for Hershey’s, told FOX Business.

The response comes after the FDA released a warning earlier this week saying that consumers 40 years or older should take it easy on the old fashioned treat as it could cause heart complications.

“If you’re 40 or older, eating two ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks could land you in the hospital with an irregular heart rhythm or arrhythmia,” the FDA said.

And it’s not just adults – the FDA says it doesn’t recommend any age group eat large amounts of “black licorice at one time.”

The problem, experts say, is that the classic candy contains glycyrrhizin, a sweetening compound derived from licorice root, which can cause potassium levels in the body to fall.

“When that happens, some people experience abnormal heart rhythms, as well as high blood pressure, edema (swelling), lethargy and congestive heart failure,” the agency added.

Hershey’s added that a majority of its Twizzlers sales don’t come from black licorice but rather its iconic red licorice line, including its strawberry and cherry-flavored products, which doesn’t contain any glycyrrhizin.

“We do sell a very small amount traditional Twizzlers Black Licorice that is made with licorice extract (licorice root extract). This extract is what provides the characteristic licorice flavor. Glycyrrhizin is a substance which occurs naturally in the licorice plant and in licorice extract. Twizzlers Black Licorice contains a very small amount of licorice extract and the glycyrrhizin levels are well below the U.S. FDA’s limits (3.1% glycyrrhizin in soft candy). Any Twizzlers Black Licorice products that contain licorice extract lists this ingredient on the package,” Beckman said.

Other licorice brands like Red Vines and Good & Plenty did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for a comment regarding the FDA’s warning.

The FDA said it decided to release a warning after it received a report of a black licorice aficionado who experienced health problems after eating the candy on a consistent basis. Yet, one expert noted in the report that the good news is that potassium levels are usually restored with no permanent health problems when consumption of the chewy treat stops.

However, any consumer who is on prescription medications, certain herbs and dietary supplements should consult with a health care professional before consuming the treat as it could possibly interfere with their treatment.

Peanut M&Ms: A Healthier Snack than You Think!

When you’re looking for a healthy snack at home, at work, or on the go, what do you normally reach for? If you’re dieting or enjoy nutritious snacks, you probably munch on fruit or veggies. If you want protein, you reach for nuts or seeds. But what if you want chocolate? How can you satisfy your cravings for chocolate and crunch without cheating too much on your diet plan? Don’t worry – we’ve got an idea. At, we get asked about healthy snacking all the time. In fact, much of our selection can make for a healthy snack when enjoyed in moderation. Nuts, dried fruits, and yes, even peanut M&Ms can be the perfect way for you to satisfy your cravings while sticking to a diet. Speaking of peanut M&Ms, they’re a healthier snack than you think. At, we recommend reaching for a handful of peanut M&Ms whenever you want to satisfy your chocolate craving while trying to stay healthy. Did you know that one serving of peanut M&Ms (one package) contains 2 grams of dietary fiber and 5 grams of protein? It’s true – peanut M&Ms, because they’re rich in protein and fiber, can actually help you stave off hunger cravings by leaving you feeling fuller longer. Plus, they’re low in cholesterol and sodium, which can easily drive up your weight when consumed in excess. The only thing to keep in mind is the calorie and sugar count. If you’re worried about your sugar intake, you may want to opt for a smaller serving of peanut M&Ms, as a full serving can contain 25 grams. Otherwise, peanut M&Ms can be a great snack to enjoy in moderation whenever you crave sweet chocolate and the crunch of candy and peanuts. Want to make your stash of peanut M&Ms go even longer? Try mixing a handful or two into your next batch of trail mix. Peanut M&Ms can add just the right amount of chocolate to your trail mix recipe while adding to the crunch and nutty flavor that you love. Get your supply of Peanut M&Ms at and start snacking healthier. Remember – these are a candy to enjoy in moderation, but when you’re on the go, they make for something yummy to munch on!

On a road trip? Stuck in an airport? Is a vending machine calling your name?

You’ve decided you need a snack. Decision made: it’s going to be candy – and it’s going to be M&M’s. Afterall, M7M’s mean melt in your mouth, not in your hand – and who wants melted chocolate all over the steering wheel or suitcase or the mess of papers on your desk?

Why Were M&M’s Made?

M&M’s, around since 1941, were actually designed so people could enjoy their chocolate without it melting in their hands. Named after the inventors Forrest Mars and R. Bruce Murrie (haven’t you always wondered where M&M came from?), they were introduced to GIs in World War II, flew into space in 1982, and have been part of space shuttle missions since then.

Choices, Choices

M&M’s now come in a whole bunch of varieties and seasonal colors. But — when you’re staring at the array of colorful M&M packages, your hands itching to tear open the wrapper and pop some into your mouth, which would you choose: plain, almond, or peanut, or peanut butter?

Of course the purists might say there is no choice other than plain. But, since there are choices, are there some potentially redeeming nutritional benefits to adding nuts under the chocolate and candy coating? Do some varieties have more protein or fewer calories or more fat? Take a look at the nutritional information – maybe it’ll help you with your choice. (Note that the package weight of the different varieties is not identical but very close).

  • Plain milk chocolate M&M’s (1.69oz package): 240 calories, 10g fat (6 saturated), 34g total carbs, 1g fiber, 2g protein
  • Dark chocolate M&M’s (1.5oz package): 210 calories, 10g fat (6g saturated), 29g total carbs, 2g fiber, 2g protein
  • Peanut M&M’s (1.74oz package): 250 calories, 13g fat (5g saturated), 30g total carbs, 2g fiber, 5g protein
  • Almond M&M’s (1.5oz package): 220 calories, 12g fat (4g saturated), 25g total carbs, 2g fiber, 3g protein
  • Peanut butter M&M’s 1.5oz package: 220 calories, 12g fat (4g saturated), 25g total carbs, 2g fiber, 3g protein


Vending machines: No matter where you go — a seedy motel, an airport or a luxury-car dealership — they’re there, and there’s always the same stale shit in them. Most of it is nutritional garbage, so if you’re hungry but too lazy or time-crunched to go searching for real food, it can be tempting to stand in front of one, trying to guess what’s terrible for you and what’s slightly less terrible for you.

To make this process easier, we talked to professional nutritionist Jason Boehm, who weighed in on the least-worst options from my nearest vending machine — the one at my friend’s office, supplied by First Class Vending.

But first, a general note on vending machine fare: “Almost everything is high in carbohydrates, which your body is going to convert to sugar and store as fat,” Boehm says. “That proves true regardless of how many calories or whatever this food has.” An even bigger problem, he adds, is that junk food has a way of convincing your body to crave more of it. “What’s going to happen is insulin will pull your blood sugar down, but too often it overcompensates and pulls it down too low,” Boehm says. “The result is you feel tired, yet oddly crave more of that food you ate an hour before.”

There, you’ve been warned.

But if you must eat out of these things, here’s Boehm’s rundown of their contents, ranked best(ish) to worst. And please note: We haven’t included calorie counts, because as we mentioned, calories are the least of your concerns when it comes to vending machine food.

1) Pepe’s Chicharones: A fat bag of pork rinds might be a surprising item to top a list of “healthy” vending machine snacks, but bear with us. Basically, everything else in here has lots of sugar, or at least carbohydrates. These, on the other hand, have a lot of protein, a bit of fat and no sugar whatsoever. Who knew?

2) Mr. Nature Energizer Mix Unsalted Trail Mix: The next best thing you can find in a vending machine is nuts. They contain protein and healthy oils, and they’re also filling, meaning you’ll be less likely to go back for more. Just be wary of trail mix that has candy in it.

3) 180 Degrees Almond Cashew Clusters: It’s mostly nuts, although they’re admittedly held together with some sugar. Also: These are tasty. Just sayin’.

4) Munch Peanut Bar: Again, it’s peanuts held together with sugar, only more of it. At least there’s not much else in it that’s bad for you.

5) Peanut M&Ms: A perfect illustration of just how shockingly unhealthy a vending machine is: If you coat a bag of peanuts with chocolate and sugar, a nutritionist will still rank it in the top five.

6) Snickers: Yes, a candy bar. The nuts in a Snickers bat give it a bit of protein and fat which, again, redeems it relative to most everything else.

7) Maruchan Chicken-Flavor Instant Ramen: It has some protein and a bit of fat thanks to the chicken broth, but not as much as you’d get from the peanuts in the Snickers bar. And although it has far less sugar than the candy, it does have a ton of unhealthy sodium.

8) Corn Nuts BBQ: Corn Nuts outrank chips due to their small amounts of fiber and protein. (These aren’t actually nuts, BTW, hence not being up with the other nut products; they’re deep-fried corn kernels.)

9) Popchips: These reconstituted, heated-and-pressurized, potato-like snacks have slightly fewer calories and sodium than typical chips. But they aren’t, by any stretch of the imagination, “healthy.”

10) Ruffles Oven Baked Chips/Lays Oven Baked Chips: The Ruffles and Lays baked chips are essentially the same thing, aside from the texture: Similar calories, sodium and carbohydrate amounts. The thing with all chips, though, according to Boehm, is that even though they don’t technically contain much sugar, your body converts all the carbohydrates in the potato into sugar, so you’re still screwed.

11) Munchies Flamin’ Hot: Just slightly fewer calories and sodium than Doritos, but otherwise pretty similar in carbohydrates.

12) Doritos Nacho Cheese chips/Fritos Chili Cheese chips: Doritos and Fritos are similar in having higher amounts of sodium than many other chips, likely due to their exotic, unnatural flavorings (which we dug into more here).

13) Chex Mix: Fewer calories and the same amount of sodium as Doritos and Fritos, but more carbohydrates. Plus, nobody likes every single item in the mix (the rye chips, in particular, can be as divisive as broccoli).

14) Wheat Thins Veggie Toasted Chips: Don’t be fooled by the pictures of vegetables on the packaging — pictures of salt shakers would be way more appropriate. These have more sodium than Doritos, and in every other respect, aren’t much different.

15) Cheez-It: If they taste good to you, it’s probably because of how much sodium is in them (a lot). Beyond that, there’s not a lot separating them from chips.

16) Nature Valley Oats ‘n’ Honey bars: Sorry, but these granola-like snacks are basically well-marketed candy bars. They have more calories than chips (albeit slightly less sodium), a lot of sugar and almost no fiber. They’re also messy AF.

17) Pop Tarts Frosted Strawberry: Basically a cookie, but with slightly fewer calories, carbohydrates and saturated fat. Must be all those “strawberries” inside, huh?

18) Knotts Berry Farm Raspberry Shortbread cookies/ Sunmaid Oatmeal Raisin Apple cookies: “Cookies are also basically candy bars,” Boehm says. These shortbread and raisin cookies are mostly identical, being only slightly better than the chocolate chip option. Which brings us to…

19) Cappuccino Chocolate Chip cookies: Similar to the other cookies, but with twice the saturated fat (that’s the bad kind) thanks to those chocolate chips.

20) Peanut Butter M&Ms: Candy is a terrible thing to eat when you’re hungry, since it’s all sugar that won’t give you any worthwhile energy — but you already knew that. At least these peanut butter-flavored M&Ms have slightly more protein than a Twix or a Milky Way — not that anyone eats Peanut Butter M&Ms for protein — but compared to their peanut butter-free colleagues, these are monstrous.

21) Twix/Milky Way: Candy bars are basically all sugar, which, as you may be coming to realize if you have a particular gift for pattern recognition, isn’t something nutritionists recommend. There’s also 35 percent of your recommended daily value of saturated fat in just one of these, along with absolutely zero nutritional value. Just go hungry—you’ll be better off.

Adam Elder

Adam Elder is a writer in San Diego. He hates author bios, so this is all you get.

The 6 Best and the 5 Worst Candies for Your Health

We’re in the thick of prime candy season. And it won’t stop once Halloween is over. After pumpkin-shaped peanut butter cups and bowls of candy corn come marshmallow Santas and candy canes. If you find yourself unwrapping more than your fair share of sweet treats this time of year, you’re far from alone. “Candy is in so many places — from the office to the supermarket to even your own house — during the Halloween season that it’s difficult to resist. That’s why it’s best to have an action plan in place to enjoy the candy in moderation,” says Amy Gorin, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Plus, there’s the fact that reaching for candy to satiate a sweet tooth may be in your genes anyway, according to a study published in May 2017 in the journal Cell Metabolism. Another review published in January 2016 in the Journal of Consumer Psychology suggested that planning for these indulgences may help you stick to healthy eating habits. So go ahead and embrace the sweet season — just do it in a smart way.

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First, put candy out of sight, like in the back of your pantry, or in the freezer, says Gorin. When it’s not staring you in the face, “you’re not constantly tempted by it,” she says. Eating it as a planned part of dessert rather than when you’re running around or doing other things — like working, or driving in the car — will help you truly enjoy it. Of course, you can and should enjoy Halloween candy, but there comes a point where it loses its luster and you may be eating it out of habit, so get rid of it after a week, Gorin advises.

Above all else, choose what you like best. (Yes, even regardless of the best and worst choices below!) If you truly enjoy what you’re eating, you’ll be satisfied by it. That means don’t let “fat-free” labels or calorie counts sway you from what you truly know you want. Mia Syn, RDN, who’s in private practice in Charleston, South Carolina, puts it simply: “The best Halloween candy choice is one that you can savor and enjoy in moderation.”

Now onto the sweet stuff. Here are the healthiest (and least healthy) candies, per Gorin and Syn:

The 6 Healthiest Candy Options

1. UnReal Milk Chocolate Gems

“I’m really impressed with these,” says Gorin. “The candy contains no artificial flavor or color, and the coloring comes from natural sources, like hibiscus and turmeric.” Because these contain a fair amount of sugar, though, you’ll want to stick with mini 0.42-ounce (oz) bags, which are available on Amazon and make the perfect single serving.

What’s Inside 140 calories per oz, 7g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 18g carbohydrate, 15g sugar, 3g protein

UnReal Milk Chocolate Gems Nutrition Info

2. Endangered Species Dark Chocolate Bites

These chocolates are low on the sugar scale, and two squares contain 3 grams (g) of fiber, too. That’s because the high level of cocoa (88 percent) means the the sugar content is lower. What’s more: “Research shows regularly eating a small amount of dark chocolate may help heart health by lowering risk of heart disease and stroke,” says Gorin. But again, be sure to enjoy in moderation, as these treats also contain saturated fat, which can instead be harmful to your heart if eaten in excess, according to the American Heart Association. The organization recommends taking in no more than 13 g of saturated fat per day.

What’s Inside 120 calories for two pieces, 9g fat, 6g saturated fat, 8g carbohydrate, 2g sugar, 2g protein

Dark Chocolate Bites with 88 percent Cocoa Nutrition Info

3. Peanut M&M’s

It’s got peanuts, which means you’ll get protein and fiber, which help prevent blood sugar spikes and overindulging, says Syn.

What’s Inside 90 calories per “fun-size” pack, 5g fat, 2g saturated fat, 10.5g carbohydrate, 9g sugar, 1.5 g protein

M&M’s Peanut Fun-Size Chocolate Candies Nutrition Info

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4. Snickers

Surprised? Although Snickers is relatively higher in calories than other candy, Gorin recommends a “fun-size” bar because it’s more likely to leave you satisfied, thanks to its filling protein. “It also has less sugar than some other candies that are almost entirely pure sugar,” she says.

What’s Inside 80 calories per “fun-size” bar, 3.5g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 11g carbohydrate, 9g sugar, 1g protein

Snickers Original Fun-Size Nutrition Info

5. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

The satisfying combo of protein and (a small amount of) fiber makes this another good pick, says Gorin. Plus, around Halloween, it’s easy to find single cups (whereas they’re usually packaged as a double).

What’s Inside 110 calories per PB cup, 6.5g fat, 2g saturated fat, 12g carbohydrate, 11g sugar, 2.5g protein

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Nutrition Info

RELATED: 10 High-Fiber Foods to Add to Your Diet

6. Blow Pop

For the non-chocolate lovers, a Blow Pop can be a practical pick. “It has less sugar than many of the other candies out there, and because of the gum center, you can enjoy it for longer,” says Gorin.

What’s Inside 70 calories per pop, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 17g carbohydrate, 13g sugar, 0g protein

Charm’s Blow Pops Nutrition Info

The 5 Least Healthy Candy Options

1. Candy Corn

It has a reputation as being one of the most hated candies, and an October 2018 survey on the best and worst Halloween candy suggests this festive confection is indeed the second-most hated — second to Circus Peanuts. But regardless of whether you agree, candy corn certainly isn’t the most nutritious way to satisfy your sweet tooth. “It contains more than double the sugar of a Snickers or Reese’s,” says Gorin.

What’s Inside 110 calories for 15 pieces, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 22g sugar

Candy Corn Halloween Candy Nutrition Info

2. Smarties

Yes, they’re low in calories, but those are purely empty calories, meaning “it’s devoid of nutrition,” says Syn. “They give your body energy it needs from calories but not the nutrition it needs, like protein and fiber,” she says.

What’s Inside 25 calories for 1 roll, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 6g carbohydrates, 6g sugar, 0g protein

Smarties Candy Rolls Nutrition Info

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3. Gummy Bears

Again, it’s pure sugar, so it’s unlikely to keep you as satisfied as chocolate, says Gorin.

What’s Inside 140 calories for 17 pieces, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 33g carbohydrates, 18g sugar, 2g protein

Haribo Goldbears Gummy Bears Nutrition Info

4. Jelly Beans

The package may get you because it says it’s fat free, but unless you absolutely love jelly beans — and can keep your portion reasonable — they’re still just sugar, says Gorin.

What’s Inside 100 calories per oz, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 25g carbohydrates, 20g sugar, 0g protein

Starburst Spooky Beans Nutrition Info

RELATED: 7 Foods With More Sugar Than You Think

5. Airheads

Packed with artificial colors and flavors and pure sugar, these may take you back to when you were a kid, but they won’t satisfy.

What’s Inside 60 calories per bar, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 15g carbohydrates, 11g sugar, 0g protein

Airheads Nutrition Info

Here’s a list of the most delicious candy ever made, ranked by sweet-tooths and dessert mavens the world over. Candy and sweet treats have become a ubiquitous part of the human diet. Though often associated with obesity, tooth decay and other health problems, it’s certainly possible to enjoy candy and desserts in moderation. This is a list of favorite candies, chocolates and sweets for when you want to treat yourself, or need a snack break. Forget going to the store and have them delivered with these popular monthly candy subscription boxes.

Many of the most popular candy brands have become cultural icons, from the familiar crinkled shapes of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to the bright primary color shells coating M&M’s. Other candies are commonly associated with popular holidays or events, like Halloween candy corn or Christmas candy canes. But one thing all these candies have in common – they delight the taste buds and bring back precious childhood memories. Vote for your favorite candy below and, if you don’t see your top candy pick on the list already, make your own list and add it as a suggestion!

Photo: Alexei Maximenko/Getty Images/iStockphoto

I don’t mean to frighten you, but I recently came across a terrible Halloween candy. It was hanging in the Halloween candy aisle of a local Walgreens and it was called Sour Patch Kids Candy Corn. Until the moment I put a piece into my mouth, I was under the impression that it would be regular Sour Patch Kids in the shape of candy corn. It was not. It was grape- and orange-flavored candy corn, complete with candy corn’s crumbly texture, coated with a dusting of sour powder. Hideous. “BOO!” indeed. Why did they make this? It’s a Halloween mystery, and I am sure that whatever the answer is, it is quite spooky.

I bring up this scary treat because it comes in last on my ranking of “all” (45) of the available Halloween candies, which I will begin now, on Halloween:

45. Sour Patch Kids Candy Corn

Horrific, for the reasons just described.

44. Circus Peanuts

I do hate to disrespect circus peanuts like this. They are so boldly terrible that you have to admire them, and of course we do. Plus they are so cute: intentionally Styrofoam-like both visually and in mouthfeel, a fat little peanut waiting for you in your Halloween tote. Oh, we do love them. However the fact remains that they are terrible.

43. Runts

A taste for banana Runts is the most perverse of all proclivities. Heinous. Do you know they sell bags of just banana Runts? Why? For whom — our most broken? Our most in need of help? It is depraved. Yes, the banana Runt is cute, but it tastes like a madman attempted to make a poison chemical banana, experienced more than a few errors, and decided that, eh, actually this version was good enough even though it ultimately turned out to be not technically poisonous. The rest of the Runts are bad, too (too hard, bad tasting, not even as cute as the banana) but none so bad as the banana. I’m sorry, banana. You are a demon and you’ve brought down the whole gang.

42. Bit-O-Honey

If I want a bit of honey, I’ll have a bit of honey. I don’t need a candy for that.

41. Jawbreaker

I admire the novelty and the beauty of the Jawbreaker. I also admire the band that shares its name. Regardless, a Jawbreaker is not an enjoyable candy; I have to believe this fact is plainly known. It is very hard to eat, particularly if you have TMJ, which some of us do, and what does it taste like? Pretty much nothing. Not worth the sticky hands.

40. Mr. Goodbar

I have a feeling this is going to be controversial. Mr. Goodbar is a simple candy, peanuts and chocolate. It’s a nice enough combination, if wildly boring. The bar is similar to a Pay Day (peanuts and caramel), which you will find close by — No. 37 on this list, in fact. Am I really saying a Mr. Goodbar is worse than a Pay Day? Well.

The truth is that Mr. Goodbar wasn’t included in the original 2018 version of this list, added only now for the 2019 update. I’ll admit that things might have shaken out differently if I’d though to include him then. But you must agree that the fact that I did not even think to include him in last year’s list says something about Mr. Goodbar that we cannot say about Ms. Pay Day. Pay Day was, in fact, included originally. You can’t argue with that.

39. Good & Plenty

Good & Plenty is a food product for people who believe they deserve punishment for the simple fact of their humanity — this is obvious and I hesitate to even include it on a list of candy. However, out of fairness to those who suffer Good & Plenty regularly, I have included it at No. 39. Please take care of yourselves; have a different candy. You are loved and you are forgiven.

38. Tootsie Rolls

Tootsie Rolls continue to populate children’s Halloween totes due to inertia and nothing else. We have to do our best to stop accepting things as the way they are simply because it’s the way they’ve been. Cut this thinking out of your life whenever you can.

37. PayDay

“Behold, something nutty! Peanut-covered caramel. Caramel wrapped in peanuts. Hold it in your hand and feel the weight of its deliciousness.” That’s the Hershey company description of a PayDay, and I love its writerly flair. However: Peanut and caramel is not enough for a candy bar. PayDay is bad.

36. Mike & Ike

Not the worst but certainly close to it.

35. Mounds

Nobody wants a Mounds.

34. Dots

Dots are cute, they have a cute name, and they have a cute little box with a cute little logo. The box makes a cute little sound when you shake it. But here, and so often in life, looks (and sounds) are deceiving. Dots are bad.

33. Laffy Taffy

“Shake that Laffy Taffy, that Laffy Taffy; shake that Laffy Taffy, that Laffy Taffy.” Did you know D4L put that song out in 2005? We were so young then, and time is moving so fast.

32. Dum Dums

Whenever I would have to go to the bank with my mom as a child, the bank teller would give me a Dum Dum lollipop. It was nice, as running errands with mom — to the bank, to the grocery store — was always so boring that I wanted to die. The Dum Dum provided at least a temporary distraction. But now that I’m a grownup who can buy her own lollipop, the appeal of the Dum Dum has lessened, due to its taste.

31. Baby Ruth

No thanks …

30. Almond Joy

Almond Joy is the same as Mounds, coconut and chocolate, but with an almond on top. Yeah, “thanks.” It is listed higher simply because it has a better name: Almond Joy.

29. Twizzlers

I understand the desire to enjoy a Twizzler. They look fun, they’re unique, and they have a neat name: Twizzlers. However, they feel like wax and taste like plastic. I know these are not novel insights, but Twizzlers remain popular despite these obvious negatives. I see no use in finding new reasons to dislike Twizzlers if Twizzler-likers refuse to pay attention to the negatives plainly laid out before them.

28. Jolly Ranchers

I guess it’s fun to have a taste in your mouth and something to clank against your teeth, but only enough to get you to No. 28 on this list.

27. Cadbury Screme Eggs

I’m not sure if you know these exist. They’re like Cadbury Creme Eggs, except they’re green inside, and they’re not for Easter, when Jesus rose from the dead; they’re for Halloween, when Satan did. Cadbury Creme Eggs are better when you can only make yourself sick on them once a year.

26. Raisinets

I applaud Raisinets for still existing. It’s a very funny treat to give to a kid, in my opinion; only slightly less funny than straight-up raisins. It’s not a bad candy, but it’s not a “good” one, and it is a funny one. Raisinets should be proud for a lot of reasons, including their No. 26 placement on this list.

25. Tootsie Pop

While I regret the amount of time I wasted in my young life trying to find out “how many licks” it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, a non-great lollipop, I must commend the treat for providing a journey.

24. Now and Later

They’re fine.

23. Whoppers

I don’t think many people are excited when they’re given a mini-box of Whoppers. They’re medium-good, and I suppose fine in a pinch, but malted milk is not a big thrill. It’s sort of plain to an extent that makes them seem religious.

22. Krackel

Krackel is nice because you really only ever see it during Halloween, in mini-size. Sweet little Krackel, popping up again to say hello. He’s not a necessary candy – we have the more popular Crunch bar if we desire a crunch – but he is a sweetheart, and I like him.

21. Candy Corn

Candy Corn is very divisive. I like it, but I can understand why one wouldn’t. Regardless, it’s nice when treats are holiday-specific. It’s fun when you can only indulge in something for a limited amount of time. We have too much of everything all of the time now; I commend Candy Corn for its seasonality.

20. Haribo Gold-Bears

If I can be honest with you, I dislike all things Haribo and believe adults who claim otherwise are liars who are desperate to be a part of a group no matter how unremarkable the group’s treats may be. Yes? Of course I don’t mean to be rude, and I never would (!); it just seems that for the Haribo set, “liking Haribo” often replaces — and again, I do not mean this to be rude — “having a personality.” I do understand, though, that many claim to like them, and in deference to those people (I do daily app-based meditation and am trying to radiate love) I have included the bears at No. 20.

19. Butterfinger

Of course, do the Bartman.

18. Warheads

It’s such a pleasure that Warheads have not gone the way of 4Loko. When I was young, I’d eat so many of them in a row that my tongue would get a little burn in the middle, and a quick Google search proves that this is true for many others. Nevertheless, she persisted, “she” meaning the sale of Warheads. They’re not closer to the top only because they’re not as prevalent a Halloween candy as they should be.

17. Junior Mints


16. Nestlé Crunch

Drake being like, nuh-uh: Krackel. Drake being like, yeah: Nestlé Crunch. (Sorry, Krackel — again, I do like you.)

15. Smarties

I’m not sure what the consensus is on Smarties. Do people like them, or no? I think people probably don’t like them because they’re basically chalk, but I kinda like that, and I like their taste, and I particularly like their smoothness when you rub your thumb against their middle. It is not lost on me that a lot of innuendo can be read into entries on this candy list, but please just focus on the candy. Their package is really cute, too. Stop!

14. Nerds

No. 14 is a shout-out to little brothers. Little brothers love Nerds.

13. Hershey’s

I really like how you can sometimes still get the mini-size Hershey’s that come with a paper wrapper over a foil wrapper. It’s sad that the larger Hershey’s have abandoned this style. It’s so nice to unwrap. Maybe the new wrapper is better for the environment, I’m not sure, but I bet that if it’s at all better for the environment that was just a coincidence. Probably it was a profit-margin-based decision. And the person they hired to make them more environmentally friendly is at the head of the meeting saying, “Hey, guys, also it’s better for the environment.” And all of the fat suits laugh and chomp on their cigars. They don’t care.

Speaking of Hershey’s profit margins, when I was a very young kid, after riding the Hershey’s chocolate factory tour ride at Hershey Park, you would get a full-size Hershey bar. Later, as an older kid, they switched to mini-Hershey bars. This is fucked up.

12. Swedish Fish

You know what Swedish Fish are the best? The bigger, single kind that you could get with like five tickets at an arcade. Those were really good. Odd, because the bigger version of the Sour Patch Kid that you could also get with five tickets was less good than a small Sour Patch Kid. Life is funny that way.

11. Three Musketeers

I like these, do you? I don’t like them enough to ever buy a full-size version, but I do like them enough to thoroughly enjoy a little one during Halloween time.

10. Snickers

I don’t like Snickers, but I know people do, so I put it at the end of the top ten. I’m being very gracious with this list, and I hope it is appreciated.

9. M&M’s (any)

Plain, peanut, peanut butter. Any kind of M&M’s is a great treat. Crunchy, chocolaty, peanut-y, if that’s the case. I love it. Throw a little bag in your purse and you’re ready to go.

8. Starburst and Skittles (Tied)

This is me being gracious again. I understand that we all have different tastes.

7. Sixlets

6. Caramel Apple Pop

Oh my God, yes! YES! God, these are so good. The ultimate Halloween pop. An apple lollipop with caramel on top — are you serious? And it’s just called “Caramel Apple Pop”; it’s not even trying to have a flashy name because it knows it doesn’t need it? That’s a great treat. Also, I saw a bag of these at Walgreens when I bought the dreaded Sour Patch Kid Candy Corn, so they’re not even difficult to find. They’re out there. Go get them. Go get our girl — Caramel Apple Pop!

5. Kit Kat


4. Twix

Simply an incredible candy. What a joy it is to find a mini-Twix in a bowl of mixed mini-candies during Halloween. What luck. It almost feels selfish to take it, but if you don’t, someone else will, and that person will almost certainly be a man. So go ahead and take it!

3. Sour Patch Kids

Unlike its demonic stepsibling, the horrific Sour Patch Kid Candy Corn, Sour Patch Kids are absolutely delicious. Particularly when they are “fresh” or “very stale.” (Not when they are medium-stale, but those will do in a pinch.) Once when I was a kid, as a Christmas gift, Santa (my parents) simply filled a shoebox with loose Sour Patch Kids. It was perfect. The only problem with a mini-bag of Sour Patch Kids is that it’s not nearly enough Sour Patch Kids, but that’s also an issue with the standard-size bag. C’est la vie. Maybe you can gather enough of the small kind to amass the appropriate serving size, which is a boxful.

2. Milky Way

King of the sky, king of the candy bars. This also goes for Milky Way Midnight.

1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup

The best. It’s simply the truth.

This post has been updated for 2019 to include five more candies at the bottom of the list.

Candy bars are like royalty in the candy world. Most bars have chocolate, some sort of filling, and plenty of extras, which put them above everything else. Even as a child, I knew how precious candy bars were, especially when I went trick-or-treating. I made sure to hit up all the right houses — you know, the ones that always handed out the big candy bars, not just the fun size ones. While any candy bar is a good candy bar, some are better than others. Here are the 20 best candy bars, ranked from good to absolutely amazing.

20. Almond Joy on Flickr

Almond Joys provide plenty of joy for coconut lovers. While I don’t like Almond Joy’s taste personally, I like when Almond Joy commercials take you to a tropical paradise when a person bites into one. Being the person that eats chocolate in commercials sounds like my kind of gig.

19. Butterfinger

You better not lay a finger on my Butterfinger…unless you really want it. Butterfingers can be tricky to eat because the peanut butter candy center gets all up in your business, aka your teeth. Still, Butterfingers are a staple to every kid’s Halloween diet.

18. Heath

Heath Bars also love to stick to your pearly white teeth. I find it difficult to enjoy a candy bar when I can’t even eat it, so that’s why this one is toward the end of the list. If you’re into the whole crunchy, hard-to-eat candy bar scene, this is the bar for you.

17. Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme Bar

First of all, you know darn well anything made by Hershey’s will satisfy your chocolate cravings. If you’re sick of regular milk chocolate bars, this Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme chocolate will give you the change you never knew you needed in life.

16. Crunch Bar

Yo VIP, let’s kick it, rice, rice, baby. If you couldn’t tell from my remix of “Ice Ice Baby” and the name of this candy bar, Crunch bars have crisped rice pieces that give this candy bar its name. Rice and chocolate don’t sound like they should be together, but in this candy bar, the combo works.

15. Payday

Richard Elzey on Flickr

Most of us like peanuts inside our candy bars, but what about outside? Payday switches up the game with a peanut caramel bar with peanuts on the exterior. This sounds like the healthiest candy bar on the list. All those peanuts should pack some protein, right?

14. Oreo Chocolate Candy Bar

This Oreo Chocolate Candy Bar by Milka was only recently introduced in the candy bar world, but it quickly captured hearts in no time. Since this bar has Oreo bits and creme filling, it’s like an ungraded chocolate covered Oreo.

13. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar

If I was a Hershey’s candy bar, I would be honored if someone called me basic. Hershey’s smooth milk chocolate bar is brilliantly basic, which means it doesn’t need all the extras some of the other bars on this list have. Hershey’s chocolate squares make your campfire s’mores hella better.

12. 100 Grand Bar

This is my personal favorite candy bar, but I’ve never met another person who likes 100 Grand Bars. I always got them from older people at Halloween, so maybe my generation will destroy this food next. Whatever, I think caramel, crisped rice and chocolate taste mighty fine together.

11. Andes Chocolate Mints

capsun on Flickr

Andes’ tiny little chocolate mints might not be the biggest of candy bars, but don’t let their size fool you. All I know is that I get turnt when Olive Garden gives me an Andes chocolate mint when I’m done with my pasta. Andes chocolate is the perfect palate cleanser.

10. Mr. Goodbar

Mr. Goodbar knows what’s good. This bar made the top 10 with its peanuts covered in milk chocolate. While I may like Mr. Goodbar, I’m curious as to what Mrs. Goodbar thinks…

9. 3 Musketeers

Sometimes, we need a break from heavily filled candy bars. 3 Musketeers does the job with its light and fluffy whipped chocolate inside. Eating this candy bar reminds me of floating on cloud nine, if cloud nine was made of airy chocolate.

8. Take 5

If you’re sick of typical candy bar fillings, Take 5 feels you. Take 5 bars have caramel, peanut butter, and pretzels. Yup, salty pretzels with caramel and peanut butter. I don’t need to take five minutes to eat this bar, I only need one.

7. Clark Bar

I think Clark Bars are highly underrated. Clark Bars are similar to Butterfingers, because they are both milk chocolate peanut butter bars, but Clark Bars are like Butterfingers’ better tasting, classier cousin.

6. Caramello on Flickr

Caramello’s caramel is different than what’s in other candy bars. Its silky smooth texture is a contrast to most caramel bars that have a harder filling. It doesn’t matter how you pronounce caramel, as long as you know how to eat it right.

5. Snickers

Snickers satisfies hunger with its nougat, caramel, and peanuts covered in chocolate. There’s no snickering here, Snickers may be one of the best candy bars you can get.

4. Twix

It doesn’t matter if you are team left Twix or right, because both sides taste the same. Twix really ups the game with a shortbread biscuit that melts in your mouth with the caramel on top.

3. Milky Way

theimpulsivebuy on Flickr

I consider this candy bar the real Milky Way, not that galaxy thing in the Solar System. Although, Milky Way’s might as well take you to another galaxy with their chewy nougat and caramel.

2. Reese’s Cups

Laura Palladino

Reese’s Cups may not be considered candy bar material because they come in cup form, but who’s going to argue about their taste? Peanut butter and chocolate always reigns supreme.

1. Kit Kat

Kit Kat’s easy to break pieces make it one of the simplest candy bars to eat. I could eat stacks on stacks of Kit Kat’s chocolate covered wafers. After all, my favorite kind of break is a Kit Kat break. Kit Kat deserves the number one spot for best candy bar because no other candy bar on this list is like it.

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