10/16/2015 Nutrition & Recipes
It's not unusual for adults and kids to eat several pounds of sugar on Halloween. Scary! If this has been your October 31 ritual in the past, these unique treat ideas will help you create healthier traditions.
Halloween doesn’t have to be filled with scary, sugary treats. Whether your plans include a costume party or trick-or-treating, you and the kids can honor the traditions associated with All Hallows’ Eve while still being mindful of your health.
These seven sweets, snacks, and non-edible treats are free of artificial ingredients and chemical colorings that won’t trick your insides.
Honey-Sweetened Pumpkin Popcorn
When offering treats at your door, select items that come in small individual boxes and/or packages that are recyclable. If the kids are trick-or-treating, encourage them to use reusable receptacles such as pillowcases, tote bags, plastic pumpkins made out of recyclable materials. If a party is on the agenda, add this healthy popcorn recipe to the menu.
The healthiest popcorn is made over the stovetop or with an air popper. Cook your popcorn in expeller-pressed coconut oil because it includes the best kinds of saturated fats and can withstand high heat. Unfiltered, local honey is chock-full of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. And pumpkin packs plenty of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. Try this simple recipe:
- 10 cups cooked popcorn (1/3 cup corn kernels)
- 2 tablespoons of expeller-pressed coconut oil
- 2.5 tablespoons of local honey
- 1 tablespoon of pumpkin puree
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the popcorn has been air-popped, combine coconut oil, local honey, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and sea salt in a saucepan over medium heat.
Set aside 3 cups of plain popcorn. Place the remaining 7 cups on a cookie sheet or roasting pan, and pour the pumpkin mixture over the popcorn.
Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let the popcorn mixture cool (approximately 10 minutes) and then mix the glazed popcorn with the plain popcorn.
Bobbing for Apples
This party activity packs a powerful antioxidant punch—namely in the form of vitamin C. The apples of autumn also boast concentrated flavors. Apples rank at the top of the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” for high levels of pesticides so choose organic. A few sweet varieties to toss into your bobbing tub are:
- Fuji: Juicy and sweet.
- Honeycrisps: The name says it all.
- Red Delicious: Mild, sweet flavor with a few notes of acidity.
- Winesaps: Aromatic, sweet, and firm with a slightly spicy bite.
- Gala: Crisp, well-balanced flavor that’s both sweet and tart.
Dark Chocolate-Covered Pretzels
For a simple and delicious holiday treat, dip dark chocolate pretzels into almond butter. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, and almond butter adds protein, vitamin E, minerals, and omega 3s. Research shows that eating almonds with high-glycemic-index foods such as pretzels significantly lowers the glycemic index of the meal and lessens the rise in blood sugar. Place a teaspoon of almond butter on your chocolate pretzel and enjoy.
DIY Monster Crunch-Munch
Have party guests help you create a healthy crunch-munch concoction. Set out your favorite nuts and seeds, which boost brain performance and improve mood. Vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and a blend of flavonoids, protein, and carbs will keep kids and adults fueled throughout the night. Add bowls of dark chocolate, coconut, dried fruit, and spices to the crunch-munch buffet, and let each person’s inner culinary monster pick and choose to develop a tasty masterpiece.
Homemade Fruit Leather
Dried fruits are great sources of concentrated food energy and fiber. Plus, the mineral content actually increases in some dried fruits, according to Whole Food Facts: The Complete Reference Guide by Evelyn Roehl. If you’re handing out candy, buy individual-sized organic fruit leather. If you’re throwing or going to a party and would like to make your own, check out this recipe:
- 5 cups any seasonal fruit, chopped
- 2 tablespoons local honey
Preheat your oven to 150 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Purée the seasonal fruit and honey in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour the fruit mixture onto a prepared baking sheet and spread it to 1/8-inch thick.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 6 to 8 hours. Remove it from oven and let it cool to room temperature. Gently peel off the fruit leather from the parchment paper. Cut it into squares or strips using a knife or scissors. Store in an airtight container.
Party Favor-Type Treats
Non-edible treats are creative ways to help kids celebrate Halloween without adding to the sugar rush. Hand out eco-friendly stickers, temporary tattoos, pencils, bubbles, games or game cards, or small coins.
Additional non-edible treats come in the form of positive “spells” centered on love, health, and protection. Get creative with affirmations that will uplift the spirits of anyone in search of a positive mental boost. Hinge the positive spells on three simple principles:
- Thoughts create reality.
- Words create reality.
- Intentions create reality.
Have a balanced, healthy, and happy Halloween.
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