Celebrating a Healthy Halloween

Halloween is right around the corner, and your little ghosts and goblins are probably excited to stock up on sweet treats. This is often a highlight of the year for kids, however, you can still encourage healthy foods and make sweets a part of a balanced and nutritious diet. It’s up to you as a parent to use your best judgement on how to encourage healthy eating habits during the holidays, and some of the following tips may be helpful:

1. Serve a healthy meal before trick-or-treating so that your children aren’t hungry when they start receiving candy and will be less likely to overeat.
2. Set the ground rules ahead of time so kids know how much candy they are allowed to eat on Halloween. Discuss limits on the leftover candy, such as allowing two pieces per day.
3. Be a role model by eating candy in moderation yourself.
4. Consider being somewhat lenient, within reason, on Halloween. Remember that Halloween is a single day of the year. If your family eats sensibly during the rest of the year, that will have more of an impact on your children than one day of indulgence.

In addition, you can provide an alternative to candy by preparing healthy Halloween snacks with your kids. The recipes below are fun for the whole family to make together.

Banana Ghost Pops
Ingredients:
6 bananas
12 ounces vanilla Greek yogurt
36 chocolate chips
12 Popsicle skewers or wooden sticks

Directions:
1. Peel the bananas and cut them in half.
2. Poke the wooden skewers into the bottoms of the bananas.
3. Coat each banana with 1 ounce Greek yogurt.
4. Gently place the bananas on a baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper.
5. Use the chocolate chips to make eyes and a mouth on each bananas.
6. Freeze until firm and serve

Clementine Pumpkins
Ingredients:
6 clementines
2 stalks of celery

Directions:
1. Cut the celery into 1 inch pieces.
2. Peel the clementines.
3. Insert a one inch piece of celery into the top so that it looks like a pumpkin stalk.

Spiders on a Log
Ingredients:
3 stalks of celery
6 ounces of smooth peanut butter
Plastic spiders

Directions:
1. Slice celery sticks in half lengthwise.
2. Smear one ounce of peanut butter on each celery stick.
3. Adorn the celery sticks with plastic spiders for a twist on the classic ants on a log.

Pumpkin Popcorn
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 (3.5 ounce) bags of microwave popcorn
2 cups hulled pumpkin seeds
Salt
¼ cup butter
¼ cup maple syrup
½ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch chili powder

Directions:
1. Pop the popcorn according to package instructions. While hot, carefully open the package and dump into a large bowl.
2. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a large skillet over medium-high heat, until browned and popping, tossing and stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add to the popcorn.
3. Using the same skillet, add butter, maple syrup, cayenne, cumin, cinnamon, and chili powder and stir to combine. Cook over medium-high heat until it bubbles. Gently pour over the popcorn, allow to cool slightly, and transfer to a bowl. Toss with tongs and serve.

Pumpkin Muffins
Ingredients:
1 ½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups sugar
2/3 cups canola oil
½ cup water
3 large eggs
15 ounce can pumpkin

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Place 24 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups.
3. Combine flours, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, soda and salt into a medium mixing bowl, stirring with a whisk. Make a well in the center of the mixture.
4. Combine sugar, oil, water and eggs, stirring with a whisk. Stir in canned pumpkin and add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
5. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
6. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For more healthy snack options, check out: For more healthy snack options, check out Nuts.com

 

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