“Skittles’ slogan may be ‘Taste the rainbow,’ but what you’re really tasting is sugar—and lots of it,” says nutritionist Tanya Zuckerbrot, RD, author of The F-Factor Diet. “A package of Skittles contains 250 calories, 2.5 grams of fat and a whopping 47 grams of sugar. That’s the sugar equivalent of almost four Krispy Kreme doughnuts.”
“For a better fruit chew, choose Welch’s Fruit Snacks,” says Zuckerbrot. “Most of the sugar in this treat comes from actual fruit. Plus, it contains 100 percent of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C.”
Like many of us, Zuckerbrot says chocolate is her weakness. But with one Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar weighing in at 210 calories and 13 grams of fat, she says it’s a weakness many waistlines can’t afford.
All it takes to curb chocolate cravings is a few bites, says Zuckerbrot. So when you’re in need of a chocolate fix, opt for Hershey's Kisses. Two Kisses have only 50 calories and 2.5 grams fat. Make your morsels dark chocolate for an antioxidant boost.
When your sweet tooth starts aching, Zuckerbrot suggests reaching for a lollipop in that big bowl of Halloween candy. But choose your sucker wisely: Although a Tootsie Roll Caramel Apple Pop has only 60 calories and 0.5 grams fat, it contains the same number of carbohydrates as a slice of white bread, she says.
“Just because it’s bite-size doesn’t mean it’s harmless,” says Zuckerbrot. “Nerds are basically tiny balls of sugar, and those little guys pack a big punch.” Although a box of this Wonka candy is fat free, one package contains 188 calories and 44 grams of sugar.
Instead of candies you can swallow in one gulp, get your jollies with Jolly Ranchers this Halloween. “Go wild and have three,” Zuckerbrot jokes. “They’ll only set you back 50 calories and seven grams of sugar.”
“Trust me,” says Zuckerbrot. “You don’t want to lay a finger on a Butterfinger.” Just one bar contains 270 calories and 11 grams of fat. She says that though she too loves the combination of peanut butter and chocolate, it’s not worth going up a costume size for.
Skinny Cow Heavenly Crisp Peanut Butter and Chocolate candy bars manage to combine the classic flavors of peanut butter and chocolate with fewer than half the calories of a Butterfinger. You’re in for a treat when you can trick your taste buds into believing you’re munching on something decadent.
If you’re hankering for some M&M’s, reach for a Fun Size-version of the peanut kind. Peanuts are a great source of protein, says nutritionist Elizabeth Somer, author of Eat Your Way to Happiness. Her belief: If covering it in chocolate means you’ll eat more of a good thing, then go for it.
Colored, packaged sugar that’s easy to eat should set off your this-can't-be-good-for-me alarm, and with good reason. Seven sticks contain 60 calories and 15 grams of carbs, which may seem like a wise option, but the lack of substance will leave you craving more.
For the same tangy and tart taste you’d get in Pixy Stix, suck on their solid form: SweeTarts. Because these take longer to eat, your sweet tooth will be satisfied longer. Eight pieces contain 50 calories and 13 grams of carbs.
Chocolate-covered fruit can be deceiving. While Raisinets provide 1/2 serving of real fruit in 1/4 of a cup, they also contain 190 calories, 8 grams of fat and 32 grams of carbs. If you're choosing Raisinets over regular chocolate, do so for the flavor, not the distorted health benefits.
For a surprisingly sweet treat, add KIND mini bars to your bowl of Halloween candy. The bars contain all-natural ingredients and come in a variety of flavors to satisfy every craving from a decadent drizzle of chocolate to sweet fruit or salty nuts.
Double Bubble Bubble Gum brings us back to our childhood, when we’d beg our moms to let us have a second piece. Looking back, we’re happy she often resisted, because just one piece has 50 calories, 13 grams of carbs and 13 grams of sugar.
For a sweet treat after dinner, chew on fruit-flavored sugar-free gum like Trident Tropical Twist, suggests Mark Macdonald, RD, Chelsea Handler’s personal nutritionist and the author of Body Confidence. The long-lasting citrus flavor will help satiate your craving for sweets without promoting cavities or providing hidden calories. One piece of Trident contains fewer than three and a half calories.