Every year, I say the same thing: "Next year, I'll remember to get candy a week in advance!" And every year, I wait until a couple days before the main event. The issue with that? By the time I head to the store, the candy aisle is cleared out. After this happened a few times, I finally figured out a solution.
Rather than spend my time rushing from store to store trying to rummage through leftovers for the best Halloween candy, I decided to come up with a new "treat tradition" of my own—inspired, of course, by Eat This, Not That!
Instead of passing out sweets—or toothbrushes and toothpaste—I decided to stuff my candy cauldron with some good-for-you snacks that aren't made up of corn syrup and artificial colorings. Because, let's be real here, these kids are already getting more candy than they can fathom and don't need any more. Plus, these low-sugar options will provide a much-needed reprieve for their sweet tooth. And don't worry about not giving out candy. Any treat is better than being that house that just shuts off all your lights and pretends to not be home. And as for your last-minute costume ideas? Check out these 25 DIY Food-Themed Halloween Costumes!
Eat This!: Bitsy's Brainfood Spooky Snacks, Orange Chocolate Beet and Sweet Potato Oatmeal Raisin
Per 1 oz: 110 calories, 4-4.5 g fat (1.5-2 g saturated fat), 55-80 mg sodium, 17-18 g carbs (1 g fiber, 6-8 g sugar), 2 g protein
Mom-run brand Bitsy's Brainfood has made everyone's Halloween a little more veggie-filled. Their new product, a 16-pack of 0.8 oz bags of Smart Cookies, comes with two flavors of alphabet-shaped cookies that are USDA Organic, made in a nut free facility, and are kosher. Kids will have their pick of Orange Chocolate Beet and Sweet Potato Oatmeal Raisin.
Eat This!: Snyder's of Hanover Mini Pretzels
Per pack: 100 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 220 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 2 g protein
Replenish those kids' electrolytes with these salty pretzels! Keeping these snacks to the mini 100-calorie size helps to keep the carb count down.
Instant Oatmeal Packets
Eat This!: Nature's Path Organic EnviroKidz Oatmeal Brown Sugar Maple
Per packet (32 g): 130 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 65 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (3 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 4 g protein
The other parents will love you for this. Now they won't have to worry about breakfast the next day! Each packet has a reasonable 6 grams of sugar (compared to the 12 you'd find in Quaker's Dinosaur Eggs) and is made with wholesome ingredients like organic, gluten-free rolled oats, maple sugar, rolled amaranth, and quinoa.
Eat This!: Veggie-Go's Organic Chewy Fruit & Veggie Snacks, Mountain Berry Spinach
Per strip: 15 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 5 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (1 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 0 g protein
Organic apples, spinach, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and sweet potatoes are the only things used to create Veggie-Go's low-cal, low-sugar snack. It's a great way to pass out a serving of fruit without worrying parents about the lack of packaging if you tried passing out grapes.
Eat This!: Swiss Miss Simply Cocoa Dark Chocolate
Per envelope (27 g): 110 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 125 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (2 g fiber g fiber, 12 g sugar), 2 g protein
This was our #3 pick when we ranked all hot chocolates. Made from only five simple ingredients—sugar, cocoa, nonfat milk, salt, and natural flavor—this treat will be sure to warm up the little ones after a cool night running from door to door.
Cheese Bites or Sticks
Eat This!: Mini Babybel Original
Per wheel: 70 calories, 6 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 160 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 5 g protein
Going from door to door can get tiring. Help the kids re-up their stamina by handing out cheese sticks! These snacks are full of satiating protein that will keep the little ones' bellies full (which hopefully means they won't feel the need to delve into their candy stash immediately when they get home).
Individual Popcorn Bags
Eat This!: Boom Chicka Pop. Sea Salt
Per package (0.6 oz): 90 calories, 4.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 55 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (2 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein
These simple snacks can be picked up in 24-packs. Made from just organic popcorn, organic sunflower oil, and sea salt, you'll feel pleased to be giving such a low-calorie, whole grain snack!
Popcorn or Potato Chips
Eat This!: PopCorners Single Serve Carnival Kettle Bags
Per 1 oz bag: 120 calories, 4 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 110 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (0 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 2 g protein
Either grab one of our top picks from these 35 Of Your Favorite Potato Chips—Ranked!, fan favorites like Pirates Booty or Annie's Cheddar Bunnies, or grab a multi-pack of these Popcorners. Made with popped corn, drizzled with sunflower oil, and tossed in a bit of cane sugar and salt, this sweet and salty treat is sure to please the pickiest of eaters.
Eat This!: Larabar Minis—Apple Pie, Cashew Cookie, and Cherry Pie
Per 1 bar (22 g): 90 calories, 5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 5 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (3 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 2 g protein
These bars are made entirely from ingredients you'd find in your kitchen: dates, almonds, apples, walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon, cashews, and cherries. They're minimally processed, gluten-free, and absolutely delicious.
Eat This!: Homefree Chocolate Mint Gluten Free, Allergen-Friendly Cookies
Per mini bag (0.95 oz): 130 calories, 5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 125 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (2 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 2 g protein
These cookies are free of nine common food allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, and gluten), are vegan, a certified a good source of whole grain, and contain no artificial anything. Kids will love crunching on these mint chocolate cookies made from whole oat flour—and you'll feel good about what you gave out this year. For more smart, easy ways to be healthier while still indulging, check out these 21 Eating Habits That Help You Shed Weight—Without Depriving Yourself!