Ah, Halloween. The leaves blush with reds and yellows, there are cute little costumes everywhere you turn, and the world is aglow with peace and harmony. Until, that is, the kids return from trick-or-treating with a pillow case of candy and desire in their eyes. Just around the corner, sugar high mania and sugar crash grumpiness lurk, waiting to inject havoc into those once idyllic afternoons for weeks to come. What to do?
Go healthy with those Halloween treats (or at least healthier). Yes, despite what the kids may say, there are plenty of ways to satisfy that sweet tooth with healthy snacks that won’t dragging mom and dad through the sugar wave. Here are a few great techniques.
5. Granola Bars
What’s full of fiber, whole grains, dried fruit and chocolate? If you guessed granola bars, you’re right on the money. From rolled oats to sunflower seeds, these delicious little bars are packed with energy and nutrition, and yet still retain enough sweetness to fool the picky tongue into thinking it’s indulging.
Making your own at home is relatively simple and will allow you greater control over what gets to go in there. With a wide selection on offer, store bought is also a great option, especially if you’re looking for wrapped candy to give trick-or-treaters. Just make sure to check that ingredient label carefully to make sure it’s made with organic, wholesome ingredients and isn’t just riding the green wave.
4. Fair Trade Organic Chocolate
Yep, you’ve got that right: chocolate can be good for the kids. Sometimes. Though the jury is still out, pure chocolate has been shown in some studies to fight disease, improve skin health, and boost moods. Just make sure to buy individually wrapped pieces rather than bars, so those trick-or-treaters don’t overindulge, and go for chocolate that’s just chocolate without too much added sugar, chemicals or extras like caramel.
Tell the kids you’re going to be serving up watermelon at the Halloween party rather than M&Ms and you’re sure to have a fit on your hands. Tell them you’ll be serving brains and they’ll be singing a different tune.
To pull this one off, peel away the skin of a small, seedless watermelon, making sure to leave the pith (i.e. the white part of the skin). Then make shallow cuts in the shape of a brain’s folds, making sure to expose just enough of the watermelon’s pink flesh to give everyone a good thrill. Delicious, healthy and revolting!
2. Pumpkin Seeds
The Halloween fun doesn’t have to stop once that pumpkin is sitting on your porch grinning through gap teeth. Save those pumpkin seeds for a delicious and healthy treat, packed with protein, magnesium and zinc — good for the muscles and the brain.
Start with a basic recipe to dry them out, and then choose from a host of flavorful toppings, like cinnamon, garlic, ranch — you name it! Pumpkin seeds go well with just about any seasoning, and are perfect either for a pre-trick-or-treating snack or to spice up that classroom Halloween party.
1. Autumn Baked Goods
Baked goods can be a healthy treat, but only if they’re made the right way. Try, for instance, swapping honey or white sugar for palm sugar or agave, which rank lower on the glycemic index (i.e. they won’t spike insulin levels in quite the same way as processed sugar). Whole grain flour is also much tastier than white, and it’s a great way to sneak in a little fiber.
And hey, while you’re at it, why not sprinkle in some dried or regular fruit, especially if it screams autumn? From pumpkin and squash breads to apple muffins and beyond, the possibilities are endless. I suggest starting with a site like this.
From substituting bad for nutritious ingredients or slipping in a good serving of fruit, there are plenty of ways to keep Halloween healthy, whether you’re getting ready for that class party, prepping the kids for their night out, or answering the door for trick-or-treaters. So get scheming, you wily Halloween fiend, you, and get snacking, too.