Green up Halloween with earth-friendly candy

Green up Halloween with earth-friendly candy

Esther Blum

If you’re trying to get your family to eat healthy, navigating through Halloween can be a huge challenge. The thought of our kids eating all that sugar can knock everyone off kilter! While candy may never qualify as “healthy” and should always be consumed in small amounts and from natural sources, Halloween is a good opportunity to teach your kids how to understand food labels. As they sort through that big pile of goodies, you can help them understand which ingredients to look for as well as which to avoid for their own health as well as the health of our planet.

It turns out that even the candy industry is starting to yield to pressure from environmentalists and has started doing the right thing. For example, you no longer need to be concerned about palm oil, a common candy ingredient. It’s hard to enjoy your chocolate when it might be tied to rainforest destruction. Today, major candy manufacturers including Mars and Nestle use only certified sustainable palm oil. Most of that palm oil comes from Malaysia, which is a world leader in earth-friendly environmental policies. The Malaysian palm oil industry is a huge contributor to wildlife conservation.

Here are 10 Halloween candy options from food manufacturers that are trying to do the right thing. Many of these options are also gluten-free.

Unreal Candy

All of its chocolate is certified by Fair Trade USA. Natural ingredients such as beetroot, carrot and red cabbage juices are used to color the candy coatings.

CLIF ZKIDS Bars/Brownies and/or Organic Fruit Ropes

These are USDA Certified Organic, and contain no artificial flavors or synthetic preservatives.

YumEarth Lollipops

I like these because they are USDA Certified Organic and available in reusable or resealable packaging.

Endangered Species Bug Bites

These individually wrapped chocolate squares are made with ethically traded cacao. A percentage of the profits are donated to support conservation efforts.

GoOrganic Fruit Chews

These are Non-GMO Project Verified and USDA Certified Organic. The chews are made with Fair Trade-Certified sugar, and the bulk candy comes in home-compostable, cellophane bags.

Glee Gum Pops

Non-GMO Project verified, Glee Gum is one of the few North American gums still made with chicle, a tree sap harvested sustainably. The company partners with a nonprofit group to plant trees, revitalizing degraded lands.

Surf Sweets Fruity Bears

Available in Halloween treat packs of 20, they are USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project verified. They are also free of the 10 most-common allergens.

Dagoba Assorted Gems

In addition to being USDA Certified Organic, these chocolates are made with cacao from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.

Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

These are made with organic, fair trade chocolate and locally sourced ingredients. The company donates part of its proceeds to worldwide hunger relief and poverty relief.

Nib Mor Chocolate

This company’s products are organic and non-GMO. Considering handing out the hot chocolate packets as well as the bite-sized treats.

You don't want to be that house with the worst candy, and most kids don’t care as much as you do about whether a snack is healthy or earth-friendly. If younger kids don’t recognize the candy brand, they even may be reluctant to try it. But your favorite haunted holiday is one more opportunity to teach your little goblins that even special treats should be chosen with care.

About the author: Esther Blum, MS, RD, CDN, CNS, is an Integrative Dietitian and bestselling author of Cavewomen Don't Get Fat; Eat, Drink and Be Gorgeous; Secrets of Gorgeous; and The Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous Project. She currently maintains a busy private practice in Connecticut where she prescribes whole food diet therapy and supplement protocols to heal and reverse chronic illness. A member of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians in Functional Medicine, Nutritionists in Complementary Care, and the Connecticut Dietetic Association.