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

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