Smart Halloween Candy Swaps to Save You Calories

Candy swaps can save you as many as 100 calories a day

ByABC News
October 27, 2014, 1:42 PM

— -- Halloween marks the end of October and the beginning of diet-busting season. But before you dive into the Halloween goodies, Dave Zinczenko, ABC nutrition-wellness editor and author of bestselling book series "Eat This, Not That!", explains how choosing smaller sized candies can do less damage to your waistline.

The average American eats more than 24 pounds of candy each year. Making these smart swaps can save each person as many as 100 calories a day, or as much as 10 pounds per year.

How the Candies Compare

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (1.5 ounces) vs. Butterfinger Original (2 ounces, or 25 percent larger than the Reese’s). Which do you think packs more of a punch?

The Reese’s has 210 cals, 13 g fat, 4.5 sat fat, 21 g sugar, while the Butterfinger has 270 cals, 11 g fat, 6 g sat fat, 29g sugar.

Because the Reese’s is smaller, the big difference here is sugar. The American Heart Association wants adult women to eat no more than 25 grams a day. With Butterfinger, you’re already over that total with one bar, Zinczenko said.

Eat this: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. It’ll save you 60 calories and 8 grams of sugar.

M&M’s Pretzels (32.3 grams) vs. M&M’s Dark Chocolate (47.9 grams). Which has more than twice the fat of the other?

The M&M’s Pretzels has 150 cals, 4.5g fat, 3g sat fat, 17g sugar, while the M&M’s Dark Chocolate has 240 cals, 11g fat, 7g sat fat, 27g sugar. The Dark Chocolate package is actually heavier than the regular-sized bag of M&M Pretzels, but even so, they still have more calories, fat and sugar per gram than the M&M Pretzels.

Eat this: M&M Pretzels will save you 90 calories and 6.5 grams of fat.

York Peppermint Patties (1.4 ounce) vs. Mounds Bar (1.75 ounce). Which of these cream-filled candies will save you 100 calories?

The York Peppermint Pattie has 140 cals, 2.5g fat, 1.5g sat fat, 25g sugar, while the Mounds Bar, which is 25 percent larger, has 240 cals, 13g fat, 10g sat fat, 21g sugar. The Mounds bar has half a day’s worth of saturated fat. You’d have to eat seven Peppermint Patties to get as much saturated fat as in one Mounds bar, Zinczenko said.

Eat this: York Peppermint Pattie, which saves you 100 calories and 8.5 grams of fat.

Three rolls of Smarties (7g per roll) vs. 1 package of Sweet Tarts (51 grams).

Each roll of Smarties has 25 cals, 0 fat, 6g sugar, so 3 rolls weigh 21 g with 75 cals, 0g fat, 18g sugar. While the one package of the Sweet Tarts has 1.8 ounces (or 51 grams), it’s important to note that each roll of Sweet Tarts is approximately three servings (with eight pieces per serving). Per serving, that's 50 cals, 0 fat, 13g sugar and for three servings it comes out to a total of 150 cals, 0 fat, 39g sugar.

So which of these will give you 50 percent less sugar? Zinczenko said this is a great example of “unit bias,” which means a person is more likely to see the Sweet Tarts roll as one unit/one serving. Closer examination of the label reveals what the candy maker believes is a serving.

Eat this: Three rolls of Smarties will save you 75 calories and 21 grams of sugar.

People can learn more about smart swaps for their favorite meals at

"Good Morning America" reached out to all of the companies for comment, and here are the responses we received:

Response Statement from Nestle:

The Nestle Butterfinger candy bar is a one-of-a-kind crispety, crunchety, peanut-buttery original, true. But if you are comparing peanut butter cups, check out NEW! Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups! They are rich, creamy and delicious. They also have no artificial colors, have less waste because there’s no cup wrapper inside, and are produced by a company that invests in sustainable cocoa. This December we'll be launching Nestlé Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups Mini's!

Response Statement from Hershey's:

As one of America's most beloved brands, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups have been enjoyed by consumers for more than 80 years. With this rich heritage and longstanding commitment to quality, only Reese's can deliver the authentic, perfect combination of chocolate and peanut butter. The superior taste synonymous with Reese's makes it one of the most popular Halloween and everyday candies.

Response Statement from MARS:

All single serve Mars Chocolate products around the world are 250 calories or less as part of our commitment to provide consumers with treats that can be enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Response Statement from Smarties:

Smarties® Candy Company, now in our 65th year, is proud to participate in enhancing the fun at Halloween for the children. Smarties® are only 25 calories per candy roll, fat free, gluten free, and packaged in a tamper evident wrapper. Candy is a treat and never meant to replace a balanced diet and exercise.

RECIPE: Deep Fry Candy Corn for a Truly American Halloween Treat

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events