Quantcast

10 Healthy-ish Halloween Treats That Won’t Make Your Kids Roll Their Eyes ... Much

Food
svetikd / E+ / Getty Images

By Dawn Undurraga, Nutritionist and Nicole Ferox, Manager Foundations Relations and Sydney Swanson, Associate Database Analyst

Parents are trapped in the Halloween guilt vortex: going full-scale green mom, handing out whole walnuts or pennies or dental floss to avoid loading kids with sugar and additives but thereby making their kids cringe and giving them stories to stockpile about their ridiculous hippie childhood.


Or, alternatively, buying the convenient and cost-effective jumbo-size bags of candy and bars packaged and placed at aisle-end every October, adding to the overall crap-ton levels of sugar, GMO ingredients, pesticides, artificial colors and flavors consumed by the children in their neighborhood on Nov. 1.

And then there's the plastic and waste.

Guilt. Everywhere.

Most kids want to participate in the full Halloween experience of bright colors and sugar and gluttony and Butterfingers for breakfast. And most of us are going to let them do that—to a degree.

But, given our unique resources at the Environmental Working Group (EWG)—the Food Scores database, which rates thousands of food items based on nutrition, ingredient hazards and degree of processing; scientific expertise in GMOs, pesticides, food colors and flavors; and EWG nutritionist and mom Dawn Undurraga—we wanted to give you some ideas (beyond whole walnuts, pennies and dental floss) to help you shop a little smarter and a little healthier this year. And maybe stay out of the guilt vortex.

To help us solve this problem, EWG's database analyst, Sydney Swanson, scoured our Food Scores database for candy and snacks that are USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified; use natural flavors and colors; are allergen safe; and/or are relatively low in sugar.

EWG's Top 10 Healthy-ish Halloween Treats

Dawn's Pick in Order:

1. Skinny Dipped Almonds Mini Pack – or other chocolate-covered almonds

2. Skinny Pop Halloween Multipack

3. Organic OCHO Coconut Minis

4. Organic appleapple Gogo squeeZ Applesauce Pouches

5. Black Forest Organic Gummy Bears

6. Wholesome Organic Skull & Ghost Lollipops

7. Annie's Organic Bunnies & Bats Fruit Snacks

8. Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Chips Ghosts & Bats

9. Snyder's Halloween Mini Pretzels

10. Surf Sweets: Organic Spooky Shapes

1. Skinny Dipped Almonds Mini Pack – or other chocolate-covered almonds

Chocolate-covered almonds have the greatest nutritional value on this list, with fiber and healthy fat to help kids feel full (and maybe eat less candy). However, they are by far the most expensive, and since it's a tree nut, almonds are obviously not allergy friendly.

  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial colors
  • No ingredients listed in EWG's Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives
  • Gluten free
  • Non-GMO Project Verified

Allergy info: According to ingredients on product page, contains dairy, soy and tree nuts

  • 1 gram fiber
  • 15 percent sugar

2. Skinny Pop Halloween Multipack

Popcorn helps kids feel full and eat less.

  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial colors
  • No ingredients listed in EWG's Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives
  • Gluten free
  • Non-GMO Project Verified

Allergy info: According to Google Express, "Certified gluten-free … Dairy free. Peanut free. Tree nut free. Preservative free. No artificial flavors."

  • Whole grain!
  • 0 percent sugar

3. Organic OCHO Coconut Minis

If only candy will do, Dawn recommends these dark chocolate bars filled with coconut because of their relatively low sugar content – 34 percent. Note that these are not allergy friendly.

  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial colors
  • No ingredients listed in EWG's Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives
  • Gluten free
  • Certified organic by USDA and California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF)
  • Certified non-GMO by CCOF

Allergy info: contains soy

Contains: According to Ocho coconut minis product page "Contains: Tree nuts. Made on shared equipment that processes peanuts, tree nuts, milk and eggs"

  • 34 percent sugar

4. Organic appleapple Gogo squeeZ applesauce pouches

Why do kids love these so much? I don't know, but they do. My kids would suck down all 48 pouches in the bulk pack if I let them. So this non-candy, all-fruit option might be a huge win at your house. The non-recyclable plastic containers and high price are a con, however.

  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial colors
  • No ingredients listed in EWG's Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives
  • USDA Organic Certified
  • Non-GMO Project Verified
  • Gluten free

Allergy info, according to GoGo squeeZ FAQs: "All GoGo squeeZ applesauce products are free of the top 8 allergens: egg, dairy, wheat, tree nuts, seafood, shellfish, peanut, or soy. GoGo squeeZ applesauce products are made in a facility that is also free of these noted allergens."

  • 100 percent fruit
  • 14 percent sugar

5. Black Forest Organic Gummy Bears

These gummy bears might pass your kid's sniff test as "real" candy, but they're made with better ingredients than conventional brands. And as far as organic candy goes, they aren't crazy expensive.

  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial colors
  • No ingredients listed in EWG's Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives
  • USDA Organic Certified
  • Gluten free

Allergy info according to Black Forest Organic Gummy Bears product page: "Some [products] are free from some or all of the "Big 8" allergens but others are not. So please refer to your product packaging, as it contains the most current ingredient and allergen statements."

  • 47 percent sugar

6. Wholesome Organic Skull & Ghost Lollipops

These spooky lollipops are another Halloween candy option, as the trick-or-treaters will not gobble them down as quickly as other alternatives.

  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial colors
  • USDA Organic Certified
  • Non-GMO Project Verified
  • Gluten free

Allergy info according to Wholesome Candy FAQs: "Produced on dedicated nut-free, gluten-free, egg-free and dairy-free equipment in a segregated area of a facility that also processes dairy, eggs, soy, and wheat."

  • 57 percent sugar

7. Annie's Organic Bunnies & Bats Fruit Snacks

These aren't the most exciting thing to be found in a plastic pumpkin, but who doesn't love Annie's?

  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial colors
  • USDA Organic Certified
  • Non-GMO Project Verified
  • 48 percent sugar

8. Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Chips Ghosts & Bats

Ok, these might make your kids roll their eyes. But maybe they like to think outside the box! Maybe they love chips! These chips are shaped like ghosts and bats, for goodness' sake! Run this past your kids and see what they think. (However, note that, with zero fiber, these are still empty calories, just like any other chip.)

  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial colors
  • No ingredients listed in EWG's Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives
  • Gluten free
  • Non-GMO (according to their website, though not verified)

Allergy info according to Sensible Portions FAQs: "While our products do not contain nut ingredients, we cannot guarantee that our facility is nut-free. Our manufacturing facilities follow rigid allergen control programs and good manufacturing practices to prevent products coming into contact with allergens."

  • Less than 1 percent sugar

9. Snyder's Halloween Mini Pretzels

Another non-candy option, these pretzels have zero sugar and no artificial flavors or colors. But they don't have whole-grain fiber, either.

  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial colors
  • No ingredients listed in EWG's Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives
  • Non-GMO Project Verified

Allergy info: According to product page on Target: "Contains: Wheat. Does not contain any of the 8 major allergens"

  • 0 percent sugar

10. Surf Sweets: Organic Spooky Shapes

Surf Sweets (part of the Wholesome brand of foods) makes a gummy option perfectly packaged for Halloween

  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial colors
  • USDA Organic Certified
  • Non-GMO Project Verified

Allergy info according to Surf Sweets FAQs: "Made and packaged in a facility free of the 10 most common food allergens, including dairy/casein, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, sesame and sulfites"

  • 57 percent sugar
Related Articles Around the Web

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Farms with just one or a handful of different crops encourage fewer species of pollinating and pest-controlling insects to linger, ultimately winnowing away crop yields, according to a new study.

Up to half of the detrimental impacts of the "landscape simplification" that monocropping entails come as a result of a diminished mix of ecosystem service-providing insects, a team of scientists reported Oct. 16 in the journal Science Advances.

Monocrop palm oil plantation Honduras.

SHARE Foundation / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0​

"Our study shows that biodiversity is essential to ensure the provision of ecosystem services and to maintain a high and stable agricultural production," Matteo Dainese, the study's lead author and a biologist at Eurac Research in Bolzano, Italy, said in a statement.

It stands to reason that, with declines in the sheer numbers of insects that ferry pollen from plant to plant and keep crop-eating pests under control, these services will wane as well. But until now, it hasn't been clear how monocultures affect the number and mix of these species or how crop yields might change as a result.

Aiming to solve these questions, Dainese and his colleagues pulled together data from 89 studies cutting across a variety of landscapes, from the tropics of Asia and Africa to the higher latitudes of northern Europe. They tabulated the number of pollinating and pest-controlling insects at these sites — both the absolute number of individuals and the number of species — along with an assessment of the ecosystem services the insects provided.

In almost all of the studies they looked at, the team found that a more diverse pool of these species translated into more pollination and greater pest control. They also showed that simplified landscapes supported fewer species of service-providing insects, which ultimately led to lower crop yields.

The researchers also looked at a third measure of the makeup of insect populations — what they called "evenness." In natural ecosystems, a handful of dominant species with many more individuals typically live alongside a higher number of rarer species. The team found as landscapes became less diverse, dominant species numbers dwindled and rare species gained ground. This resulting, more equitable mix led to less pollination (though it didn't end up affecting pest control).

"Our study provides strong empirical support for the potential benefits of new pathways to sustainable agriculture that aim to reconcile the protection of biodiversity and the production of food for increasing human populations," Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, one of the study's authors and an animal ecologist at the University of Würzburg in Germany, said in the statement.

The scientists figure that the richness of pollinator species explains around a third of the harmful impacts of less diverse landscapes, while the richness of pest-controlling species accounts for about half of the same measure. In their view, the results of their research point to the need to protect biodiversity on and around crops in an uncertain future.

"Under future conditions with ongoing global change and more frequent extreme climate events, the value of farmland biodiversity ensuring resilience against environmental disturbances will become even more important," Steffan-Dewenter said.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Mongabay.

View of an Ivorian cleared forest at the edge of the 35.000 hectares Peko Mont National Park on Oct. 8, 2016. The Mont Péko National Park is located in the west of Ivory Coast where the forest officers fight with illegal immigrants to protect an exceptional flora and fauna, espacially dwarf elephants. SIA KAMBOU / AFP / Getty Images

Ivory Coast's rainforests have been decimated by cocoa production and what is left is put in peril by a new law that will remove legal protections for thousands of square miles of forests, according to The Guardian.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The Apusiaajik Glacier, as seen from Kulusuk village in East Greenland. Like most glaciers in Greenland, it's retreating rapidly, changing the local landscape year by year. Photo credit: Karin Kirk

By Karin Kirk

Greenland had quite the summer. It rose from peaceful obscurity to global headliner as ice melted so swiftly and massively that many were left grasping for adjectives. Then, Greenland's profile was further boosted, albeit not to its delight, when President Trump expressed interest in buying it, only to be summarily dismissed by the Danish prime minister.

During that time I happened to be in East Greenland, both as an observer of the stark effects of climate change and as a witness to local dialogue about presidential real estate aspirations, polar bear migrations and Greenland's sudden emergence as a trending topic.

Read More Show Less

Heavy metals that may damage a developing brain are present in 95 percent of baby foods on the market. Cirou Frederic / PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections / Getty Images

Heavy metals that may damage a developing brain are present in 95 percent of baby foods on the market, according to new research from the advocacy organization Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF), which bills itself as an alliance of scientists, nonprofit organizations and donors trying to reduce exposures to neurotoxic chemicals during the first three years of development.

Read More Show Less
Chicago skyline on July 22 as high winds continue to push the waters of Lake Michigan over the top of the pedestrian and bike trail along the lakefront in Chicago. Raymond Boyd / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

By Daniel Macfarlane

Every fall, I take my environmental studies class camping at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan. Some years the beach extends more than three meters to the water. This year, in many spots, there was no beach at all.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Insects like bees, butterflies and even certain species of beetle and ant incidentally pollinate our crops when they collect protein-rich pollen and sugary nectar. Rolf Dietrich Brecher / CC BY 2.0

By Kerstin Palme

Creepy-crawlies are among the oldest life forms on this planet. Before dinosaurs ever walked the earth, insects were certainly already there. Some estimates date their origins to 400 million years ago. They're also extremely successful. Of the 7 to 8 million species documented on Earth, around three quarters are likely bugs.

But several insect species could disappear for good in the next few decades and that would have serious consequences for humans.

Read More Show Less
Swedish automaker Volvo unveils its first electric vehicle the XC40 Recgarge EV, during an event in Los Angeles on Oct. 16. Frederic J. BROWN / AFP / Getty Images

Volvo introduced its first-ever all-electric vehicle this week, kicking off an ambitious plan to slash emissions and phase out solely gas-powered vehicles starting this year.

Read More Show Less
Cars are queued in Turin, Italy in August. Particulate matter levels were the highest in Italy, Poland and the Balkans countries. Nicolò Campo / LightRocket / Getty Images

Air pollution in Europe led to more than 400,000 early deaths in 2016, according to the most recent air quality report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

The report, released Wednesday, found that almost every European who lives in a city is exposed to unhealthy air, Reuters reported.

Read More Show Less