Which Treat is Healthier? Read on to find out...
Peanut M&M’s or Skittles?
The better choice: Peanut M&M’s.
Skittles have only 61 calories per snack-size bag, compared to 90 in Peanut M&M’s, but that doesn’t necessarily make them the better choice, says Gidus. Peanut M&M’s are low on the glycemic index, which means they release their sugar slowly into your bloodstream and will satisfy you longer. Those sugary little Skittles will spike your blood sugar and leave you craving more.
Twix or Kit Kat?
The better choice: Kit Kat.
While neither of these chocolaty, wafery/biscuity treats will win any nutritional prizes, “reaching for the Kit Kat will save you 20 calories and rack up less saturated fat and sodium,” says Sass. In fact, Twix packs three times the sodium—90 milligrams—in three fun size pieces than you would get in a comparable serving of Kit Kat.
Candy Corn or Tootsie Rolls?
The better choice: It’s a tie between the two.
There’s actually a trick answer for these treats: At 20 million pounds consumed annually, candy corn wins the popularity contest, but in the nutrition competition, this one’s a draw. Though you would need to eat 26 pieces of candy corn to rack up the same number of calories—140—as in 6 Tootsie Rolls, both candies contain artificial color and flavor. Vegetarians should go for Tootsie Rolls, however, since candy corn contains gelatin (an animal by-product).
Butterfinger or York Peppermint Pattie?
The better choice: York Peppermint Pattie.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that a candy that has butter in its name (and is endorsed by Bart and Homer Simpson, d’oh!) doesn’t take the prize here: Two fun-size Butterfingers boast 200 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 100 milligrams of sodium. Meanwhile, three mini York patties pack 150 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 15 milligrams of sodium. Plus, says Gidus, “mint is a nice way to finish. When someone has a strong mint flavor they are not likely to go back for more because it would ruin the flavor of another piece of candy
Starburst or Jolly Rancher?
The better choice: Jolly Rancher.
While Starburst candies win the calorie comparison (43 calories in three pieces as opposed to 70 calories for three Jolly Ranchers), “the calorie difference is not significant in my book,” says Gidus. Her pick is the Jolly Rancher, “because it takes longer to suck on and finish it, so you’re not likely to eat three in a row. But it is quite easy to down three Starbursts and still want more.” And then there’s this: Starbursts stick to your teeth more readily, which can raise your risk of developing cavities.
Smarties or SweeTarts?
The better choice: Smarties.
So who’s the smarty? The candy’s name probably should have been a giveaway: Smarties have about half the calories and sugar of an equivalent serving of SweeTarts (25 calories and 5 grams of sugar per one of those little Smarties rolls compared to 50 calories and 13 grams of sugar for eight SweeTarts), says Sass. And, she adds, “Smarties are smaller, so it feels like you get more, and they take longer to eat.”
Milky Way or PayDay?
The better choice: Milky Way.
Both of these treats are built around gooey caramel, but “the Milky Way has less than 50 percent of the fat and sodium for two fun-size pieces,” says Sass. And, sure, the peanuts in PayDay offer some heart-healthy benefits, but they also come with 90 milligrams of sodium and 9 grams of fat.
Caramel Apple or Candy Apple?
The better choice: Candy apple.
No matter how they’re costumed—in melted caramel or a hard candy coating—these treats are both winners in a way, because they’ve got fiber and vitamins under those sugary disguises. But caramel is made with butter as well as sugar, which boosts its calorie and fat content. In contrast, a typical medium-sized candy apple will run 70 fewer calories than a caramel apple, and it contains no fat, says Sass. It’s worth noting, though, that the red dye that distinctively colors the sugar-based coating may be unhealthy, some studies suggest.
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