Spooky Ingredients and Candy Swaps


Just about everyone loves Halloween—there’s plenty going on from trick-or-treating to all kinds of costume parties, and of course, there’s the candy. Scary creatures and haunted houses are to be expected, but no one should have to deal with spooky ingredients in their foods and beverages!

It can be a challenge for your clients to recognize and avoid unhealthy ingredients in the foods they buy, especially when they appear in seemingly healthy options. It’s reasonable to assume that a food advertised as “natural,” “healthy” or even “organic” is good for you. Unfortunately, that’s not always true.

We all need to check the ingredient labels on food packages each time we buy it. Food manufacturers often change ingredients and may not note the change on the package. If product labels claim things like, “Now lower in fat” or “Improved,” or variations of similar wording, these phrases are signs to check the ingredients. When food producers lower the fat content, for example, they typically add more salt, sugar, and/or additives.

Parents should be aware of ingredients that sound like a chemical experiment or that are represented by acronyms. For example, preservatives such as TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone) can cause nausea and vomiting; BHT/BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole, butylated hydroxytoluene) are possible carcinogens; polysorbates can suppress the immune system; and potassium sorbate can cause allergic reactions and DNA damage.

Artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners often are part of so-called healthy foods, such as nutrition bars, whole-grain cereals, fruit juices, and frozen foods that claim to be good for you. Remember: the more processed the food, the more undesirable ingredients it likely has.

When it comes to Halloween treats, your clients can avoid spooky ingredients and try dozens of non-candy options that are great for parties and to please their little goblins at home. When preparing these or other treats, organic ingredients are preferred! Barbara’s has perfect healthy treat options that kids can make themselves, such as Snackimals Banana Roll Ups and Chocolate Peanut Butter Puff Balls. Alternatives to Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters include temporary tattoos, stickers, LED finger lights or glow sticks, or mini packages of raisins, dried fruit or pretzels.

Wishing everyone a safe, fun-filled and healthy Halloween!