This Might Be The Healthiest Candy Bar

With Halloween rapidly approaching, candy is already clouding the minds of children (and grown-ups) across America. Truth be told, 78% of adults believe splurging on an occasional chocolate bar or confectionary treat is perfectly acceptable from time to time, according to the National Confectioners Association. While the U.S. wellness market is expected to expand by more than 3.5% by 2030, candy sales have been on the rise as well, growing 11% in 2021 (via Store Brands). The COVID-19 pandemic taught us to appreciate the small luxuries in life, and research shows one of those luxuries is most definitely sweet treats (per Fortune).

But are certain candy bars better for your health? Common knowledge tells you that Smarties are primarily comprised of sugar, and gummy bears are the worst for your teeth. But what about the classic American chocolate bars? An obscene assortment of chocolate exists all over the world, but some of the popular candy bars in the U.S. rank higher than others. And the candy bar 26% of people said was their favorite is also one of the healthiest, according to a registered dietitian.

Snickers may be the best option for your health

According to Brookell White, MS, RD, and MyFitnessPal nutrition consultant, choosing the best candy bar for your health comes down to maintaining the delicate balance of your blood sugar. Instead of choosing candies that have minimal ingredients, which are built on sugar as the focal point, choose a candy bar with protein and healthy fat. One Snickers bar, for example, contains 250 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 4 grams of protein.

"A Snickers bar also contains peanuts, providing more fat and protein," White says. "On the other hand, KitKat is slightly lower in both calories and total sugar but has less protein. Overall, the difference between most popular chocolate candy bars is negligible, so you can choose your favorite candy bar based on how it tastes." Like White, dietitian Meredith Price, MS, RD, CDN recommended Snickers to HuffPost as a better-for-you candy bar option.

Keep in mind that White's comments refer to chocolate candy bars in particular, though. The dietitian adds that "consuming a chocolate bar is often a slightly better option than selecting a fruit or tart candy such as Jolly Rancher, Starburst, or Sour Patch Kids," as those candies may cause greater blood sugar spikes.

Dark chocolate is the key

If you're looking for a better-for-you sweet treat, dietitians often recommend dark chocolate, as it contains antioxidants and often has less sugar than milk chocolate. "When I want a sweet treat, I reach for a dark chocolate bar with nuts," says Brookell White, MS, RD.

White cites a 2016 report from Today's Dietitian that found that "a 60% to 69% pure cocoa bar contains '19% DV manganese, 17% DV copper, 12% magnesium, 10% DV iron, and smaller amounts of phosphorus, potassium, selenium, calcium, and vitamins K, B12, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid.'" So if you reach for a dark chocolate bar, you'll be getting some minerals that are good for your health.

"Dark chocolate contains higher amounts of chocolate liquor, often represented by the percentage cacao found on the front of the bar," White says. "The higher the cacao percentage, the more you will benefit from the nutrients found in the chocolate liquor."

With that in mind, maybe it's time to try something new and consider the best dark chocolate bars of 2022. And now that you're armed with the knowledge of the best candy bars for your health, let's just hope there's not a candy shortage before Halloween.