Halloween candy is everywhere, beckoning from store shelves and cradled lovingly in serving bowls on office lounge tables. If you have kids, chances are you’ll soon have an overflowing Halloween pail at home. Let’s be real: you’re going to eat candy. Who can resist the joy that comes from unwrapping those adorable little chocolate candy bars? (Keep telling yourself you’re buying that economy bag of miniature chocolates “for trick-or-treaters.” We all know the truth.)
It’s totally fine to enjoy a treat, especially at a time like Halloween. But if you’re looking for some healthier options to snack on so you don’t raid that little plastic pumpkin stuffed with goodies, then you're in luck. Here are some fun, easy recipes that are healthier than their classic counterparts for you to try at home.
It's impossible not to snack on peanut butter cups whether it’s a mini wrapped in gold foil or a full-size cup in that iconic orange wrapper. How about taking that classic treat and putting a new, healthier spin on it? This recipe for Pumpkin Seed Buttercups from So Munch Love by way of The Kitchn is a fascinating take on your typical peanut butter cup. Yes, making the pumpkin seed butter takes a bit of work, but it is totally worth the effort. The saltiness and distinct taste of the pumpkin seeds is heightened by the sweetness of the sugar and the depth of the dark chocolate. This is one unexpected pumpkin treat, and the delicious combination of flavors makes it a total winner.
Candy bars filled with crunchy bits are often an afterthought in the giant candy bag. Is anyone really reaching in there hoping to snag a Krackle? When you’re down to the last of your Halloween loot and it’s between Krackles and plain chocolate, you realize just how much tastier they are than an ordinary chocolate bar. Try making your own using Something Swanky’s recipe for Toasted Quinoa Chocolate Crunch Bars. These bars are not only crazy easy to make at home, but also contain nutritious quinoa, which provides a delicious crunch. Simply combine melted chocolate and toasted quinoa for a fun, tasty chocolate treat. These bars are also very easy to customize. You can use whatever chocolate you like or add nuts and other fillings. Ashton, the blog’s creator, added pecans to one of her bars. A similar recipe from Food 52 incorporates pomegranate seeds. Experiment with flavors until you find what works for you. That ho-hum crackly candy bar might just become your new favorite, plus you finally get to use up all that quinoa that may be collecting dust in your pantry.
Chocolate and nuts go hand in hand. These are the bars that people tend to go for first and eat by the handful. Thankfully, it’s actually easy to recreate healthier versions of some of your favorite nutty chocolate treats at home. If peanuts and caramel are your bag, try Donna Hay’s Raw Snickers Bar recipe. We’ve talked about date caramel before, and this recipe takes a similar approach of using dates to create a caramel flavor profile. Peanuts and peanut butter make this candy bars super flavorful, and puffed rice adds extra crunch. It doesn’t taste exactly like a Snickers, but it really does hit the spot when you’re craving one.
Another perennial favorite combination is chocolate and coconut. The classic conundrum is: almonds or no? With these Simple and Healthy Homemade Almond Joy Bars from Butter with a Side of Bread, you don’t have to choose! The base, a combination of coconut, honey and coconut oil (with the option to add powdered sugar for extra sweetness and a texture more similar to the candy bar you know and love), gets covered in chocolate and topped with sliced almonds. Don’t want the nuts? Just leave them off! This treat is so easy to assemble and made with simple, good-for-you ingredients.
Whether you try these recipes or stick with the classic candies, make sure you really take the time to enjoy your chocolate. Psychology Today has tips on how to eat chocolate mindfully so you can savor each and every bite.