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13 Best Healthy Candy Alternatives of 2022, According to Taste Tests

Our nutrition experts share their favorite low-sugar and low-calorie candy picks.

Сolored candies on pastel pink background
Iryna VeklichGetty Images

Did you know that the average American eats 60 pounds of sugar in just one year? In fact, most Americans consume on average about 77 grams of sugar daily, which is more than three times the American Heart Association's recommended limit for women. Of course, satisfying your sweet tooth is seriously necessary at times — and we believe in moderation and balance over restriction any day — but watching your added sugar intake is an important part of healthy living.

White table sugar may be delicious, but there is actually no nutritional need for it. While you may get a quick dose of energy from table sugar in the form of a blood sugar surge, you'll subsequently experience that drastic drop in energy or classic “sugar crash,” which can lead to symptoms like hunger, irritability, fatigue, headaches and more. Research shows that consuming too much of the sweet stuff can increase chronic inflammation and even raise the risk of serious health problems like diabetes, certain cancers and heart disease. Since table sugar is void of any nutrition, it contributes added empty calories to the diet.

But there are some lower-sugar options that are a better choice when you are craving something sweet. Registered dietitians in the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab, along with a panel of taste testers, evaluated dozens of treats to bring you the best of the best in terms of nutrition and taste. Here are the best healthier candy alternatives of 2022.

Our top picks:

You can read more about how we evaluate healthy candy alternatives, as well as everything you need to know about added sugars, at the end of this article.

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1
Best Sour Gummies
PROJECT 7
Low Sugar Candy Variety Pack
Project 7
Now 20% off
2
Best Low-Sugar Gummies
SmartSweets
SmartSweets Variety Pack
Smart Sweets
3
Best Fruit Gummies
SOLELY
Organic Mango and Guava Whole Fruit Gummies
Solely
Now 13% off
4
Best Chocolate Wafers
Little Secrets
Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Crispy Wafers
Little Secrets
5
Best Chocolate Candies
UNREAL
Vegan Candy Variety Pack
UNREAL
6
Best Lollipops
YumEarth
Organic Fruit Flavored Pops
YumEarth
7
Best Peanut Butter Cups
SkinnyDipped
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
SkinnyDipped
8
Best Caramels
Cocomels
Sea Salt Coconut Milk Caramels
Cocomels
9
Best Healthy Candy Bars
JOJO's Chocolate
Dark Chocolate Bars + Plant Based Protein
Jojo's
10
Best Chocolate Bars
Hu
Dark Chocolate Bars
Hu
11
Best Snacking Chocolate
ChocXO
Keto Dark Chocolate Coconut Snaps with Almonds and Sea Salt
ChocXO
Now 18% off
12
Best Truffles
Alter Eco
Alter Eco Dark Chocolate Truffles
Alter Eco
13
Best Chocolate Turtles
Highkey
Caramel Clusters
Highkey
Sugar 101
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All sugars are simple carbohydrates that provide the body with a quick and easy source of energy. Some occur naturally, meaning they are part of foods — fructose, for example, is in fruit and root vegetables, and lactose is in dairy products. Because of where they occur, naturally occurring sugars come bundled with lots of good-for-you nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Added sugars, on the other hand, are ones food manufacturers put into products to improve flavor or extend shelf life. While they have the same molecular makeup as naturally occurring sugars, added sugars are primarily found in heavily processed foods and drinks which tend to be nutrient-poor. They also don’t fill you up or offer other nutritional benefits, so it’s easy to eat way too much overall.

In the standard American diet, top sources of added sugar include soda, candy, cakes, cookies, pies and fruity drinks like ades and punches. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of added sugar daily for women and 36 grams (9 teaspoons) for men.

How we tested the best healthy candies
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Registered dietitians in the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab evaluated dozens of treats to find the best of the best in terms of nutrition and taste. Our pros looked for lower-sugar options that are made with thoughtful ingredients, prioritizing picks that are free from artificial flavors and additives. We even recruited real-life testers to help analyze flavor profiles, textures and more.

Why trust Good Housekeeping?
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Stefani Sassos is a Registered Dietitian with an extensive knowledge of food labeling and nutrition requirements on food products, rigorously evaluating hundreds of claims for products that apply for the Good Housekeeping Seal. Growing up with a family in the restaurant business, Stefani was able to combine her nutrition expertise with culinary skills taught to her by her mother and grandmother. She's passionate about finding great tasting products that provide a healthier alternative but don't sacrifice on quality.

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