Halloween is not exactly associated with images of health and nutrition. It’s a day for candy, candy, and more candy. But not all candy is created equal. These recipes look and taste like the real deal, but they’re refined sugar free so they’re low on the glycemic index. Plus, they’re loaded with high-protein, energy-boosting ingredients like coconut flour, maca and raw cashews. So don’t be a scrooge. Go ahead. Let them eat candy.
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It’s not just the ghouls and ghosts causing a scare on Halloween — how about the mountains of treats handed out to kids by friends and neighbors? Some treats are worse than others — these are the ones that I pick out of my kiddos’ candy stash when they’re not looking and toss them into the trash.
Depending on the brand, taffy has about 160 calories and 27 grams of sugar for about 5 pieces. The fact that my kids need to try VERY hard to bite into one tells me they shouldn’t be eating it. Read the ingredient list and you’ll find corn syrup, palm oil, hydrogenated oil and artificial colors. In one bite, your kid can eat at least 4 ingredients that many experts tell you to avoid.
Gum or chewy-candy filled lollipops may be exciting for kids but why on earth do they need a 2-in-1 treat? The only thing they’ll be getting more of is sugar!
Can you ever make enough deviled eggs? Not when you’re talking about this Guacamole Goblin Deviled Eggs recipe. It’s perfect to get you and your family in the Halloween spirit. This versatile recipe can be served year-round; however, the guacamole lends a fun and spooky green surprise this time of the year. This snack gets its protein from avocado and eggs along with a nice dose of fiber from the ground flax seeds. Nutrient-rich avocado adds a creamy touch and diced apple gives these bite-sized eggs a nice crunch. Try serving these deviled egg treats as an appetizer before the kids head out to trick-or-treat.
As a registered dietitian, my philosophy is to embrace holidays like Halloween without going overboard. This means allowing my children to go trick-or-treating and indulge in SOME treats. I’m not the only nutrition expert with this philosophy—I spoke to top experts around the country who weighed in on their favorite Halloween treats.
Ding Dong at the Dietitian’s House
Nutrition consultant Alexandra Oppenheimer, MS, RD claims “It’s not all apples and raisins at my house; I do give out candy but purchase ones that have some redeeming qualities. When picking out my Halloween offerings, I choose chocolates with nuts like peanuts or almonds and skip the sugary caramel. I choose chocolates (and lean towards the darker varieties) because of the potential heart-health benefits and antioxidants. In addition, they also provide fiber, protein and calcium. For these reasons, I prefer passing out chocolates versus candies made completely out of sugar with little to no other nutrients. Although plain chocolates and those with nuts do contribute nutrients, it’s important to remember they are still a treat and should be eaten in moderation.”
This is the dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan curry soup you’ve been dreaming of. A blend of coconut milk, tender white beans and silky pumpkin makes a creamy substitute for the butter or yogurt that is usually added to creamy soups. The topping of fresh cilantro adds a mildly sweet touch and pulls everything together. This soup is perfect to serve alongside a sandwich or enjoy alone for a light meal.
Depending on the ingredients, basic buttery and sugary popcorn balls can have anywhere from 200 to 400-plus calories. The numbers only go up from there with the addition of nuts, candy and caramel. Treat trick-or-treaters or Halloween party-goers to this homemade version — with a fraction of the calories — instead.
We can’t help you fend off goblins, ghosts, witches and werewolves, but we can help you avoid scary stuff like excess sugar, too many processed treats and smile-spoiling candies. Before you hit the streets to trick-or-treat, read up on the sneaky ways you can resist overindulging this year. Plus, some make-at-home sweets that will keep you from raiding the candy aisle, especially once the prices get marked down tomorrow.
Tricks for Enjoying Your Treats
Instead of: King size candy bar
Choose: Mini “fun size” bar
The Payoff: An average savings of 475 calories and more than 20 grams of fat
It’s common for stores and restaurants to hand out treats on Halloween, but a few McDonald’s locations won’t be handing out candy this year. A handful of McDonald’s locations in Southern California are doling out apples. That’s right – trick-or-treaters under 12 years old will receive a free bag of apple slices. The campaign is designed to promote the new Happy Meal option of apple slices instead of french fries.
Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura county residents can stop by any McDonald’s location from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday for the free apple slice giveaway.
“We’re excited to offer this nutritious treat for children this Halloween season,” said Michael Mangione Jr., president of the McDonald’s Operators’ Association of Southern California, or MOASC, which represents about 600 franchised and company-owned locations.
To learn more, read the full release.
What do you think about this treat? Is it a trick to get customers in the door, or just a healthy offering?
We don’t expect your Halloween faves to be nutritious, but there are some treats you should be scared of. Whether you’re digging through a candy-filled pillowcase or deciding what to give out to trick-or-treaters, use these tips to keep kiddies safe.