Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a full chart of candy bars so you can see how the exact nutrition stacks up!————
What is actually the healthiest candy bar?
We all define healthy differently: maybe that means low calorie to you, and maybe it means high protein to somebody else. It depends!
That being said, we can compare candy bars to figure out for ourselves what we consider to be the healthiest candy bar!
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.
RX Bars, and many protein bars in general, 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.”
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.
Dark chocolate vs milk chocolate
We’re talking candy bars, so we’re specifically looking at chocolate candy bars.
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.
So, when people set out to lose weight, they’ll avoid “candy bars” at all costs, but have no problem enjoying some dark chocolate.
I’m here to show you that both are totally fine to enjoy.
If we look at equal portion sizes, we can see that calorically, they’re almost 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.
Dark chocolate is generally thought of as a “healthy” option because it’s higher in fiber and contains antioxidants. While I can’t argue either of those, I would never consider milk chocolate unhealthy just because it contains less of those.
Personally, I just don’t enjoy dark chocolate at all. It is WAY too bitter for my liking- I’ll take the milk chocolate bar any day! Especially if it’s Hershey’s.
The “healthier” choice is whatever 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.
What are the different types of chocolate, and which is best?
When it comes to chocolate, there are thousands of different brands and flavors. How do you decide what to choose?
For the purposes of this comparison, let’s stick with the “Lindt” brand to keep things consistent.
As you go down the list, we go from the most cocoa (100% cocoa bar) all the way down to white chocolate, which doesn’t actually contain any cocoa at all.
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!
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.
The healthiest candy bars
I can only fit so many candy bars on one graphic, so hopefully your favorite made the cut!
If it didn’t, don’t sweat- I’ve got a table right here with a ton more candy bars on it! They are arranged in order from lowest calorie to highest calorie, but you’ll also be able to see the fat, sugar, and protein content.
While most of these 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!
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.
While most candy bars will typically be in the 200 calorie range and have a similar nutritional profile, there are definitely differences between them.
I fully believe in flexible dieting– I never consider any food off limits. If I really want some candy, I’m going to enjoy it! That being said, we all have different goals, so every single candy may not be the same to us. You may aim to eat higher fat and lower sugar than I do, in which case, this chart can help you find which bars are the better choices for ya!
I chose to display sugar content instead of total carbs, since candy bars are high in sugar and not many other carbs.
If you don’t want to sort through the entire table, here’s a quick summary of some of the healthiest candy bars based on different factors…
Candy Bar With Lowest Calories: York Peppermint Patty (150 Calories)
Candy Bar With Most Protein: PayDay (7g of Protein)
Candy Bar With Least Sugar: Twix Peanut Butter (14g of Sugar)
Candy Bar With Least Fat: York Peppermint Patty (2.5g Fat)
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Reese’s clearly dominates this list- I had no idea how many different bars they have. Yes, I count Reese’s Cups as candy bars here. They’re not bar-shaped, but they are the BEST candy out there.
My guide, my rules!
If I were ranking my top 3 candy bars of all time in terms of taste, they would go…
- Reese’s Cups
- Reese’s Outrageous (it is SO good)
Peppermint Patties are at the very bottom of my list- I’ll never quite understand the whole mint chocolate thing. And anything with coconut also sits towards the bottom of my list. Nobody wants coconut as a treat. Give me chocolate + peanut butter all day long.
If I left your favorite off this list, come find me on Instagram and let me know! I’m always looking to keep this guide updated so you can find out for yourself which is the healthiest candy bar.