Healthy Alternatives to 4 Types of Halloween Candy

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Bingeing on a bottomless bag of Halloween candy has lost a little appeal now that we’re fully aware of the artificial junk packed into our favorite treats, but let’s be real: On October 31, we’re eating something sweet, even if it’s not a pound of waxy candy corn.

As far as candy goes, you don’t have to completely give up your peanut M&M obsession this Halloween—just try a healthier, DIY alternative. That’s right: With just a little effort, you can make substitutes for most of your favorite sweets at home. Then you’ll know exactly what’s going into each treat (and into your body).

We rounded up a few of our favorite Halloween treats that you can DIY at home.

healthy mm recipePhoto: Minimalist Baker

DIY Peanut Butter M&Ms

You’ll need

1/4 cup rolled oats (GF for gluten-free eaters)
Two pitted dates (medjool or deglet noor)
½ cup raw almonds
½ cup roasted salted peanuts
½ cup roasted, salted natural peanut butter

1 cup (8 oz) semisweet or dark chocolate (nondairy for vegan)

(makes roughly 50 pieces)
Instructions
  1. Add your oats to the food processor and mix until small pieces remain. Then add dates and process again until only small bits remain. Remove from processor and set aside.
  2. Next add almonds and peanuts to the food processor; mix until they turn to meal.
  3. Next add peanut butter to the nut meal, and pulse until well combined. Add in the dates and oats; process the mixture until it becomes a loose dough process. If it seems too wet to handle, add more oats. If it seems too dry, add a couple more dates.
  4. Scoop out 1/2-tablespoon bits of dough and form them into small balls. Place all on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and pop into the freezer to harden for 30 minutes.
  5. After 25 minutes, melt your chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave in 30-second increments. Then work in small batches to coat the balls: Take only five balls out of the freezer at a time for dipping.
  6. To dip, drop balls one at a time into the chocolate, flip once and pick up with a fork or your fingers, and tap on the rim of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and pop back in the freezer to set.
  7. Repeat until all candy pieces are dipped; reheat the chocolate as needed.
  8. For optimum freshness, store candy in an airtight container in the freezer or fridge until serving.

health mars bar recipePhoto: Peachy Palate

Paleo Mars Bars

You’ll need

For the nougat
1 cup (120 g) raw cashews, soaked overnight
1/4 cup (60 mL) full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup (55 g) raw cacao paste
1/4 cup (60 g) organic unrefined coconut oil
2 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp maca powder

For the caramel
3/4 cup (130 g) pitted medjool dates
1/4 cup (30 g) roasted cashew butter
2 tbsp (28 g) organic unrefined coconut oil
2 tbsp water
Pinch of Himalayan rock salt

For the chocolate
170 g (3/4 cup) raw cacao paste
2 or 3 tbsp raw honey
2 tbsp (28 g) organic unrefined coconut oil

(makes 8 large bars)
Instructions
  1. To make nougat: Blend together cashews and coconut milk in a high-speed blender until perfectly smooth.
  2. Melt cacao paste in 30-second intervals in the microwave, stirring after each interval. When the cacao paste is almost melted, add coconut oil and continue to microwave in intervals until the mixture is liquid.
  3. Add cacao mixture to the blender along with honey and maca powder; blend to combine.
  4. Pour mixture into a removable-bottom, 6-inch-square tin lined with baking paper that has been lightly greased with coconut oil.
  5. Place in the fridge for one to two hours, until firm to the touch.
  6. To make caramel: Blend dates to a paste; combine with all other caramel ingredients, and spread evenly over firm nougat. Return to the fridge for two hours or leave overnight.
  7. Remove from the tin and slice in to eight bars. Slice a tiny bit off each corner of the bars, and smooth with your finger to round them off.
  8. Place on a tray in the freezer for a minimum of two hours (or let sit overnight) before coating them in chocolate.
  9. To make chocolate: Melt cacao paste in the same fashion as for the nougat.
  10. Blend or whisk together all chocolate ingredients until smooth. Place in to a bowl and dunk the bars into the chocolate one at a time. Use a fork to remove; shake off excess chocolate before transferring to a baking paper–lined tray.
  11. Once chocolate is beginning to set, drizzle with remainder to achieve a prettier finish. This is optional but recommended for additional chocolate thickness on top.
  12. Place in the fridge for an hour to allow the chocolate to firm up completely. Serve from the fridge in a container covered with a layer of baking paper. Bars will keep for up to five days in refrigerator or up to one month in the freezer. Note: The chocolate will lose its glossy sheen with time, but the candy will still taste great.

gluten free kit katPhoto: Fork and Beans

Gluten-Free Vegan Kit Kat

You’ll need

For filling
1 cup cashews
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup raw cocoa powder
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 tsp agave
1 tsp vanilla

Rice Chex cereal, as needed
2 cups melted nondairy chocolate

(makes 20 bars)

Instructions

  1. For the fluffy chocolate filling, place all ingredients into a high-speed bender until smooth and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Place in the fridge while you’re assembling everything else.
  2. Line an 8″-by-8″ pan with parchment paper. Coat paper with a thin layer of chocolate filling.
  3. Top the filling with one layer of Rice Chex cereal. Top cereal with a thin coat of filling, and place pan in freezer. Do not allow to completely freeze.
  4. When filling is near freezing point, take a knife and mark where you’ll be making the incisions. It helps to go along the lines between the Rice Chex. Cut halfway through, and then freeze for another 20 minutes.
  5. Remove candy by removing parchment paper from pan. Cut your candy into Kit Kat–size pieces.
  6. Quickly dip candy into the melted chocolate, then freeze until set, and eat!

healthy peanut butter cupsPhoto: Fit Foodie Finds

Healthy Peanut Butter Cups

You’ll need

For the bottom layer
¼ cup smooth peanut butter (all-natural)
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
8 drops of liquid Stevia (or to taste)

For the top layer
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
¼ cup natural smooth peanut butter
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
optional: unsweetened coconut

(makes 12 cups)

Instructions

  1. Line a mini muffin tray with 12 cupcake liners.
  2. Combine all ingredients for the bottom layer; stir until smooth. (You may have to melt the coconut oil and peanut butter for 20 seconds to get them to mix well.) Divide mixture between the muffin cups so that each is half full.
  3. Put the tray in the freezer on a flat surface, and freeze until solid, about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for the top layer; stir until smooth. (Again, you may have to heat the coconut oil and peanut butter for 20 seconds to get them to mix well.) Divide evenly over top of each set bottom layer.
  5. Return cups to the freezer, and freeze until solid, about another 10 minutes. Store in the freezer.

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