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What is the Healthiest Candy Bar?

Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a full sortable chart of candy bars so you can see how the exact nutrition stacks up!

 

What is actually the healthiest candy bar?

Much like donuts or fast food, that’s an impossible question to answer.

Why? Well, because we all define “healthy” in our own unique ways!

For you, healthy might mean low calorie, but to another person, it may mean minimal ingredients or high-protein.

Now, let’s be clear: if you’re going to eat a candy bar, the odds are that you’re not too concerned with how healthy it actually is. I mean, it’s candy after all.

But, that doesn’t mean that it’s not helpful to know the differences! I always find it beneficial to know what I’m consuming, even if I’m not counting my calories or watching my weight.

Let’s break down the nutrition facts of various candy bars and sort through most of the popular options out there to figure out which ones may be considered the healthiest for our own diets.

Candy Bar Nutrition Comparison- Which candy bar is the healthiest?

 

Can you eat candy and still be healthy?

When we think of candy bars, we think of high sugar, high calories, and very little nutritional benefit.

In that sense, a candy bar might not be considered “healthy” at all.

But just because you eat food that isn’t traditionally considered healthy, that doesn’t mean that YOU are unhealthy.

Sometimes you just want a candy bar, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

It should never be “eat this, not that.” It should be “eat this sometimes, and that other times.”

Your approach should always be balanced, which is why I am such a major advocate for flexible dieting.

Eating any food in moderation is okay

You don’t always need to choose the “best” option

Protein bars (generally speaking) are a great snack to take with you on the go. They’re convenient, high in protein and fiber, and contain minimal ingredients.

But sometimes candy bars are also a great choice.

No, a candy bar is not going to nourish you with micronutrients and help you hit your protein goals.

But it’s convenient, delicious, and it’s going to make you happy.

I say it all the time, but I’m gonna repeat it in case you’re new here…

Every food choice you make does not need to be in the pursuit of perfect health.

If you’re presented with blueberries or Sour Patch Kids, it’s probably pretty easy to identify which option is “better.” Nobody is turning to Halloween candy for the health benefits, after all.

But if that’s all we thought about every single time we chose a snack, our diets (and our lives) would be BORING.

You’re allowed to eat food that doesn’t directly impact your goals. That doesn’t make you unhealthy!

I love protein bars. I’m going to continue to eat ’em. But I also love candy, and you bet your candy-loving butt that I’m going to continue to enjoy those sometimes, too!

The candy you snack on is only a tiny portion of a single day. When you look at the big picture of your overall health, it’s not going to negatively affect you in the slightest. I promise.

Balance and moderation are your two best friends, always.

For those reasons: yes, you can eat candy and still be perfectly healthy.

 

Dark chocolate vs milk chocolate, which is healthier?

Depending on the type of candy bar you’re after, you may be presented with the option of dark chocolate or milk chocolate.

Which is the better choice?

Many people out there view a chocolate bar as an unhealthy option, but when it comes to dark chocolate, it’s often viewed as a healthy option.

When people set out to lose weight, they’ll avoid “candy bars” at all costs, but have no problem enjoying some dark chocolate.

This is often because dark chocolate contains very minimal ingredients. In most cases, this means no corn syrup, no sugar alcohols, minimal (or no) added sugar, no artificial flavor, etc.

But I want to show you that milk chocolate is still absolutely fine to enjoy…

Milk Chocolate vs Dark Chocolate

If we look at equal portion sizes, we can see that calorically, dark chocolate and milk chocolate are nearly identical.

If weight loss is your ultimate goal, then keeping your calories in check should be your priority. Calorie deficit = weight loss.

In that case, a milk chocolate bar might be a totally fine option for ya. Likewise, if you’re eating lower fat, then a milk chocolate bar is actually a more appealing option.

Of course, we have to look at the sugar content.

There’s no comparison here: milk chocolate contains much more sugar than its dark chocolate counterpart. Does that make it “less healthy”? No, it just means it contains more sugar.

By some people’s standards, that may mean it’s less healthy, but that’s not a universal truth.

 

What are the different types of chocolate, and which is healthiest?

There are tons of different types of chocolate out there: we can go from the most cocoa (100% cocoa bar) all the way down to white chocolate, which doesn’t actually contain any cocoa at all.

There are plenty of variations with varying ingredients such as artificial sweeteners, caramel, coconut oil, peanuts, and more. For this comparison, let’s just look at the varying percentage differences for chocolate bars…

Different types of chocolate

Milk chocolate bars can contain as little as 10% cocoa, but fall within the 10-30% range.

99-100% are both going to be super bitter and are typically just used in baking. For me personally, even the mildest of dark chocolate is still far too bitter, and I much prefer milk chocolate!

Almost all of the different types of chocolate are going to fall in a very similar calorie range.

The ingredients will vary, but you don’t have to force-feed yourself only the darkest of chocolate if you hate it. A little milk or added sugar is absolutely okay.

Note that for this chocolate comparison guide, I stuck to 70% as the lowest of the dark chocolate, but there are other options that fall between the 30%-70% range as well. Most of those options have very similar caloric value!

Which type of chocolate is the healthiest? Whichever type fits YOUR preferences.

Many consider dark chocolate to be the healthy option, but based on your own dietary preferences, that may not necessarily be the case.

 

The healthiest candy bars 

As you scroll down, you’ll come across a table containing 65 chocolate candy bars (and counting). Sort the table by calories or macronutrients, or search to see how your favorite candy bar stacks up!

While most of the bars are from the United States (we have the best candy bars) I snuck in a few others that I’ve tried in both Canada and the UK that I really love as well. Shoutout to Coffee Crisp!

While most candy bars will typically be in the 200 calorie range and have a similar nutritional profile, there are definitely differences between them.

 

Candy Bar With Lowest Calories

York peppermint patty

York Peppermint Patty

150 Calories, 2.5g Fat, 26g Sugar, 0g Protein

York Peppermint Patty’s are the smallest of all the “bars” out there, so it should come as no surprise that they contain the fewest calories. They have a mint filling and are coated with dark chocolate and are generally looked at as a healthy candy option.

Second-Lowest Calories: Reese’s Thins (170 Calories, or 85 calories per peanut butter cup)

 

Candy Bar With Most Protein

Payday Bar

PayDay

240 Calories, 13g Fat, 21g Sugar, 7g Protein

Coming in at the top of the protein list is a PayDay bar, which is jam-packed with peanuts. Whereas most bars consist of mostly chocolate, PayDay doesn’t actually contain any chocolate at all and instead utilizes a peanut coating around a caramel center.

Edit: PayDay recently released a chocolate-coated PayDay bar which has 260 calories, 14g of fat, 27g carbs, and 5g protein.

Second-Highest: Reese’s Ultimate Peanut Butter Lovers (6g protein)

 

Candy Bar With Lowest Sugar

Twix Peanut Butter

Twix Peanut Butter

220 Calories, 12g Fat, 14g Sugar, 4g Protein

With 14g of sugar, Twix Peanut Butter is actually the lowest sugar option out there. Of course, this does not include sugar-free versions of candy bars that utilize sugar alcohols, which are obviously much lower in sugar.

Second-Lowest Sugar Content: Twix Cookies & Cream (17g of sugar)

 

Candy Bar With Lowest Fat

York peppermint patty

York Peppermint Patty

150 Calories, 2.5g Fat, 26g Sugar, 0g Protein

Along with the title of Lowest Calorie, York always wins the title of Lowest Fat. Since York Peppermint Patties don’t contain any peanut butter, caramel, or nougat filling, the fat content stays nice and low here. If you are worried about your consumption of trans fat or saturated fat, York is definitely a great choice.

Second-Lowest Fat: 3 Musketeers (7g fat)

 

The Ultimate Candy Bar Ranking

A few notes on the table below:

  1. This is exclusive to candy bars. We’ll save our full candy guide for another post so we can compare hard candy like jolly ranchers and gummy candy like gummy bears.
  2. Technically speaking, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and York Peppermint Patties aren’t in bar shape, but they fit the description enough for me!
  3. I chose not to include the full carbohydrate count here, but rather just list the sugar content. In most cases, the carb totals consist of almost pure sugar, so you’re not missing out on too many carbs.
  4. Since new candy bars are consistently being released, I will do my best to keep this chart updated for you.
  5. If I left your favorite off this list, come find me on Instagram and let me know!
Candy BarCaloriesFat (g)Sugar (g)Protein (g)
York1502.5260
Reese's Thins17010183
Cadbury Flake1709192
Snickers Almond Brownie1809182
Reese's Big Cup With Pretzels18010184
100 Grand1908221
Snickers Crispers1909203
Twix White2009182
Milky Way Simply Caramel2008261
Hershey’s Special Dark20013202
Hershey's Cookie Layer Crunch20013192
Twix Cookies & Cream20011172
Reese’s Outrageous20010243
Symphony20012213
Kit Kat Chunky20010213
Reese's Crunchy Cookie20011214
Reese’s Big Cup20012235
Skor20012251
Reese's Ultimate PB Lovers21013176
Kit Kat Duos21012192
Heath Bar21013241
Kit Kat Mint21012192
Toblerone21012242
Kit Kat21011213
Cadbury Caramello2109253
Take 521011184
Hershey's With Almonds21014194
Reese's Cups21012225
Reese's Sticks22013184
Kit Kat Fruity Cereal22012202
Almond Joy22012202
Hershey’s22013243
Hershey’s Gold22014203
Zagnut2209253
Aero Milk Chocolate22012253
Twix Peanut Butter22012144
Reese's Sticks22013184
Hershey’s Cookies N Cream22011213
Milky Way Midnight2308301
Mounds23013212
Crunch Bar23012242
Oreo Chocolate Bar23014202
Oh Henry!23011242
Whatchamacallit23012213
Zero2308313
Snickers Almond23010273
Fast Break23011274
Kinder Bueno24016204
3 Musketeers2407361
Mars2409302
Milky Way2409312
PayDay24013217
Twix25012252
Cadbury Double Decker2509301
Snickers25012274
Snickers Peanut Butter25014235
Butterfinger25010215
Nestle Lion26012303
PayDay (Chocolate Coated)26014275
Coffee Crisp26013252
5th Avenue26012294
Mr. Goodbar26017235
Tony's Chocolonely27017254
Bounty28014271
Baby Ruth28014334
Butterfinger Crisp30017253
Candy Bar Nutrition Comparison- Which candy bar is the healthiest?

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