Who doesn’t get excited after hearing the word, “candy”? Candies are extremely popular all over the world and people of all ages are fond of them. But have you ever thought, what benefits are these sweet bundles of joy providing us? Except for loads of calories and risks of diseases such as diabetes, cavities, obesity, etc., candies are giving us nothing!

You can quench your sweet hunger for some time by gobbling a candy or two but it is never enough. That is why switching to a healthier version of candies is extremely important because if you hold on to the traditional factory-made candies, you might risk your health.

1. Fruit

Fresh fruit is the old standby when it comes to candy replacement – if you want to call it that. A good source of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, it lowers inflammation and increases the body’s antioxidant capacity.

In the body, fiber slows down the breakdown of sugar, resulting in a longer feeling of fullness and energy. Apples, berries, oranges and pineapple are sweet, juicy, low in calories, and high in nutrients.

Dried fruit is a great choice if you prefer a more concentrated, chewy taste – just be careful not to overdo it. The smaller size fools your body into thinking you can eat more. Dry fruits have lots of healthy fats but if consumed in high amounts can do more harm than benefits.

2. Fruit Leather

You can purchase fruit leather in grocery stores or make it yourself at home. They are created with pureed fruits such as blueberries, mangoes, strawberries, apricots, or other fruits, which are then baked, dried, and rolled out. The naturally sweet fruit you choose makes these thin slabs chewy and fun to eat. They can also be cut to any size for customization.

When buying marketed fruit roll-ups, be wary because many brands are loaded with sugar and corn syrup, which reduces their health value.

3. Homemade popsicles

Homemade popsicles

Make your own homemade popsicles to enjoy all the benefits of fruit without all the extra sugar and artificial ingredients that packaged varieties have.

For preparation, simply blend your favorite fruit with either water, juice, or milk. Put the mixture in ice pop molds or plastic cups, insert the sticks in the center of each one, and freeze overnight.

You can also blend the yogurt to get a creamy texture – or simply put the popsicle stick directly into the yogurt cup and freeze. Homemade popsicles are not only tasty but also healthy. So, whenever you’re craving candy or ice cream, just hop into your freezer and draw your favorite homemade popsicle out.

4. Nice cream

Nice cream is fruit-based ice cream that you can make by blending frozen fruits of your choice with optional additives – such as honey, peanut butter, or coconut milk – and then freezing the mixture.

To get you started here’s an easy recipe-

Banana-strawberry “nice cream”


  • 1 large, peeled, frozen banana
  • 1 cup of frozen strawberries


  • Slice the banana and cut the strawberries into halves.
  • Using a food processor, pulse until smooth, scraping sides as necessary.
  • Add the additives and again blend, and you have your “nice cream” ready.
  • Put the mixture in a glass jar and enjoy.

5. Cinnamon Chickpeas

The main ingredient in hummus, chickpeas are also a favorite vegetarian protein replacement in hearty dishes. They are more well known for their savory qualities, as they are the main ingredient in hummus. However, you can sweeten the chickpeas with cinnamon or vanilla to make a candy substitute that will actually reduce your chances of developing diabetes.

Bake them at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Once you’ve taken them out of the oven, drizzle them with a few drops of olive oil and sprinkle a little cinnamon and brown sugar over them. Bake them again for 15 min and your cinnamon chickpeas are ready.

6. Energy balls

Fiber, protein, and healthy fats are usually the main ingredients in energy balls, which means you’ll feel satisfied after eating them.

Most often, oats, nut butter, flax seeds, and dried fruits are included. However, almost anything can be added, from protein powder to chocolate chips. Store them in a candy glass bottle to increase their shelf-life.

They are high in calories, so try limiting yourself to one or two at a time.

Coconut-dusted energy balls


  • 72 grams (1/2 cup) of raw almonds
  • 58 grams (1/2 cup) of raw walnuts
  • 73 grams (1 cup) of raisins
  • 3 pitted dates
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 93 grams (1 cup) of shredded coconut


  • Process almonds and walnuts until finely chopped. You can now add the remaining ingredients except coconut and pulse until a sticky mixture is formed.
  • With your hands, form balls about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and roll them in shredded coconut until fully covered.

7. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is known to have more health benefits than most chocolate counterparts. A high amount of antioxidants contributes to heart and brain health and helps regulate insulin levels.

Inflammation, cholesterol, and blood pressure are lowered by flavonoids. You can mix it up by adding some coconut which provides good fats that promote gut health.


You can replace candy with a variety of delicious, healthy treats. It’s best to avoid candy as much as possible since it’s often laced with sugar and additives. When you are craving something sweet, consider making a healthy treat from ingredients you already have on hand. The candy alternatives mentioned above will not only help you satisfy your sweet tooth but also boost your immunity and prevent you from various risks of diseases.

Annalise O'Conner is a Registered Dietitian and Personalized Nutritionist. She is a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, teaching nutrition in the School of Public Health and APAN (Asian Pacific Islander American Network) Email: [email protected]

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