Cheer Up, Butter Cup

Deprivation tends to come with the territory when committing to a food philosophy that embraces healthy whole foods. Fortunately, Paleo adherents no longer have to refuse peanut-butter cups.


Whether you’re Paleo, have an allergy to tree nuts (or gluten or dairy or soy) or are just looking to satisfy your sweet tooth with high-quality ingredients, we’ve got you covered. We’re not going to say that these are health foods, but they offer a better option for indulgence than the sugar-packed brand-name alternative. So next time you’re crippled by a craving for something sweet, salty and decadent, check out these higher-quality candy-cup alternatives.

EatingEvolved Classic Coconut Butter Cups

Founded in 2012, EatingEvolved is responsible for launching the world’s first coconut-butter cup — a mouthful of creamy coconut sugar–sweetened organic coconut butter enrobed in organic, Fair-Trade, single-origin (Dominican Republic) 72 percent chocolate. As with all EatingEvolved products, the ingredients list is minimal, including no more than organic coconut, organic cacao, organic cacao butter, organic coconut sugar, Himalayan sea salt and Madagascar vanilla. Free from gluten, soy and dairy, and with only 3 grams of sugar per cup, these are probably the closest thing you’ll get to a clean or Paleo decadence. In fact, when making decisions about the products it creates, EatingEvolved is adamant about one thing — “Chocolate: It’s Food, Not Candy.” If you want something with more pizazz, the company also offers mint creme coconut and caramel and sea salt coconut cups.

Sun Cups Dark Chocolate Sunflower Butter Cups

Produced by Seth Ellis Chocolatier LLC, Sun Cups hit the market in 2009 as “the peanut butter cup for everyone.” The catch: They don’t contain peanut butter. Created using sunflower seed butter and cacao from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, these cups were specifically created for those with a peanut allergy. Dark chocolate Sun Cups are certified kosher, non-GMO and contain 60 percent dark chocolate to satisfy those with a more mature sweet tooth. The company also produces three additional cup varieties (milk chocolate, milk chocolate caramel and dark chocolate mint) and continues to pay special attention to developing chocolate that can be enjoyed by those allergic to tree nuts, gluten, egg, soy, fish and shellfish. A dairy-free version of the cups is reportedly also in the works.

Unreal Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

Unreal was founded by two teenage brothers (and their dad) after years of trick-or-treating excursions ended with dad confiscating most of the goods. The younger brother did his homework and realized that what constitutes today’s candy — partially hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors, GMOs, chemical preservatives and excess sugar — might cut production costs but isn’t required for great taste. In February 2015, Unreal relaunched its line of “unjunked” candy to cater to the growing number of health-conscious consumers. The new products offer ingredients like coconut and almond butter, are non-GMO, vegan-friendly (dark chocolate varieties only), and free of gluten, corn and soy. The company’s organic palm oil comes from sustainable third-generation farms, and its cacao, cocoa butter and cane sugar are Fair Trade–certified.