Halloween junk food substitutes

Wherever the Halloween party is this year, sugary, fatty foods are sure to abound. The ubiquitous veggie tray and baked chips and salsa are obvious better nutrition options, but what should one do when choosing the lesser evil among the not so obvious? The answer lies in the nutrient richness of the food, being not just about calories, but the other good-for-you nutrients delivered in return.

pumpkin cookie and fork

1. Instead of: Frosted sugar cookies

Most store bought varieties of these cookies include partially hydrogenated oils, excess sugar and artificial food coloring.

Eat this: Pumpkin cookies

These soft and chewy treats contain real pumpkin, with each cookie serving up a good source of vitamin A.

2. Instead of: Candy corn


Just 1/4 cup of this seasonal classic packs in 180 calories, artificial food coloring, and is made of mostly sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup.

Eat this: Caramel corn

While this candy coated snack is no angel, 1 cup of it offers 2 grams of fiber, thanks to popcorn being a whole grain, and 30 fewer calories per serving.

3. Instead of: Cupcakes

Butter or shortening make up the majority of the billowing piles of frosting on top, while refined bleached flour lurks below in the cake. Add in all of the sugar, and this equals a nutritional zero.

Eat this: Caramel apple

Sure, it’s coated in caramel, but the whole apple and chopped peanut coating provide one serving of fruit, 6 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. Plus, peanuts offer fats that are good for one’s diet.

4. Instead of: Cocktail sausages in BBQ sauce

Looks can be deceiving as these high sodium and nitrate-containing wieners swimming in sugary sauce outweigh the benefit of protein offered.

Eat this: Deviled eggs

Considered the perfect protein, eggs only need a little dressing up of mayo, mustard, hot sauce, and salt to be smooth and delicious. Since it’s tempting to eat more than just one or two, be mindful that the calories can add up quickly.

5. Instead of: Peanut butter cup

While peanut butter in its pure, unadulterated state packs a nutritional punch, it’s outnumbered in this candy by all of the sugar and milk chocolate.

Eat this: Roasted pumpkin seeds and a snack-size dark chocolate bar

One small handful of these green seeds comes in at fewer than 150 calories, plus offers protein, iron and potassium, among other important nutrients. The pre-portioned dark chocolate bar makes life a little bit sweeter and even provides a modest boost of antioxidants.

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