In Your Food: Treats!

Ah yes – the annual question: what to give the ghoulies that will soon be at the door.

The traditional offering is, of course, heaps of sugar.


Some of these contain corn syrup or other forms of corn. Others are just – well, sugar-laden.

I have, in the past, sought alternatives to handing out sugar, trying in my small way to watch out for the welfare of the cute little monsters without restricting their fun. Little toys (stickers, noise makers, and other party favors) never appealed to me. I gave out small boxes of raisins one year. Another time I tried nickels – which got me numerous return visits from groups of rather older ghouls.

This year I headed to the warehouse store looking for something that would not be too sinful but would still be reasonably fun – possibly even a bit of welcome variety – and would not be too hard on my budget.

I just skipped the candy, though for reference I noted the price of the chocolate bars above: $.163/oz. I don’t know how many candy bars are in an ounce, but I’m guessing maybe one.

Looking for alternatives, I found this:

cheese balls

Personally I’m quite fond of this kind of salty snack. It’s not that much healthier than candy, being mostly carbohydrate, fat, and sodium. It contains corn, too, so it’s no good for my corn-free friend. Gluten-free, though – if you’re looking for that. Price: $.117/packet

How about this one? Classic snack!


Hey, no corn! Ding, ding – a treat for my pal! Carb-y and fatty, though. But also gluten-free. [edit:  Correction, these are not gluten-free – thank you, Kathi] And I like the “made with smiles.” Price: $.329/packet – a bit high.

Well, let’s try to do a little better. Fruit is good for you, right? This one looks fun:

fruit flavored

Hm. The box says “fruit flavored.” The only element of fruit is apple juice, followed by corn starch, corn syrup, and sugar. OK, this is not fruit – it’s candy.

I didn’t bother to check the price. Lets look for one with some actual fruit in it.

fruit snacks

This is also a strikeout. It does have actual fruit puree, not just juice, but it’s also got corn syrup and sugar and it’s basically candy, too.

Here we go: 100% fruit!

sliced fruit

And the price: $.75/packet. Cough, cough. Moving on…

Here’s fruit leather. The kids might not shout hooray, but they’ll probably get a little fun out of it.

fruit leather

And the price is $.221 – better.

That pretty much does it for fruit. Potato chips – nah. One last look around…


This one is the winner for me. High in fat, but low in carbohydrate, and a good dose of protein. Price: $.171/packet.

May you all have a happy, and slightly healthier, Halloween.




In Your Food: Treats! — 1 Comment

  1. Fun and informative, Pati, thanks! But one note — Goldfish are NOT gluten free, wheat is the first ingredient after “smiles.” Several of these are, though. Indie nut packs can be a good alternative. I’m not in charge of candy purchase this year, but looking at nut packs is a first choice. I wonder if indie seaweed packs will become popular eventually? The kids here love the stuff.