Halloween parties and treats can be fun, festive & yes – even healthy! Here are some tips and ideas to make your Halloween celebrations healthier this year.
The Healthier Halloween Party.
The kids are all dressed in their costumes, and excited to play games and eat spooky treats. But with tons of candy and sugary foods everywhere this time of year, many kids are actually relieved to have some savory & healthy options too. Alongside the candy & sweets – serving foods with protein and/or fiber – will help to level out the sugar rush & crash.
Some Fun/Healthier Halloween Party Ideas:
Melon Brain from Disney Family Fun.
For anyone who is trying to avoid artificial colors and high fructose corn syrup – Halloween can be a “fright night.” Many Halloween treats and party foods contain artificial colors, additives, high fructose corn syrup, and preservatives, which can wreak havoc on some kids’ mood, behavior, and focus/attention. Looking for some healthier options to hand out at parties or trick or treat time?
Check out Natural Candy Store – they offer all natural candy that has no trans fats, artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, or preservatives. They even have options for people on specialty diets like Feingold. Try their Surf Sweets, Yummy Earth lollipops, Equal Exchange mini dark chocolates, Endangered Species Bug Bites chocolate, they even have some cool bat and pumpkin shaped lollipops, or get a mixed bag with several different kinds! The Endangered Species Bug Bites chocolate is 100% ethically traded organic cacao, and each one comes with a card inside that features a bug – a picture on one side, and a description on the other. My kids really like Yummy Earth‘s Organic Vitamin C Pops.
It is all still candy – so it is still best to limit it – but unlike most other Halloween candy, Natural Candy Store’s candy is made without chemicals, artificial colors, trans fats, etc. It is nice that families who are trying to avoid those things have options.
Halloween Cookies and Cupcakes
Instead of grabbing the pre-made Halloween cookies or cupcakes from the store bakery, which are probably loaded with trans fats, artificial colors and high fructose corn syrup. Make home-baked pumpkin cookies or cupcakes – or even pumpkin doughnuts – baking is a fun activity, and anything homemade is always better than store-bought, especially if you sneak in some healthy “boosts” (such as flax or chia). If you want to make them fun & festive colors, you can decorate them with natural food colors instead of the artificially colored kind. Where can you find natural food colors? The Natural Candy Store carries them – they have an assortment of concentrated natural decorating colors to make orange and black icing.
I thought this recipe for Pumpkin Whoopie Pies from Rachel Ray looked fun, festive, and pretty easy – you can even make them ahead and freeze them! I am going to make them for my son’s Halloween class party, but I am going to add some ground chia or flax seed to the pies, and replace the confectioners sugar with a 1/2 cup of agave nectar for the frosting. I am going to make the frosting orange colored using the natural liquid food coloring I got from the Natural Candy Store.
Post Trick or Treat Candy Overload? Find a Halloween Buy – Back Program.
Most kids come back from Trick or Treating with a bucket filled with hundreds of pieces of candy – more than most parents would like them to eat in a year! Not only does it contribute to tooth decay, it is full of empty calories, artificial coloring – all that sugary candy certainly won’t help kids focus in school, or boost their immunity.
But what can you do with it all? Look for a Halloween Candy Buy-Back program near you. Many local dentist’s office will take the candy, weigh it, and give you money for each pound of candy you turn in. What do they do with all that candy? They send it to the troops overseas. To find a participating dentist in your area, visit the Halloween Candy Buy Back site. Or the Switch Witch can come to your house – we let our kids choose 1 piece a day for a few days, and they leave the rest for the Switch Witch, who will trade their candy for a toy. Or for those budding scientists – why not do some science experiments with the candy – check out these fun Candy Experiments.
I asked some of my friends what they do to make Halloween healthier, and here are some of their useful tips and tricks and some links to cool blogs about healthy Halloween ideas:
Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, whose book The Perfect Metabolism Plan (Red Wheel/Conari Press) will be hitting book shelves Spring of 2015. You can download her Cooking with Superfoods eBooklet now for free. A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, Sara used to be a sugar junkie too. She offers consultations, corporate nutrition, monthly cooking classes, and affordable online programs.
©2015, all rights reserved. Sara Vance.
Love the spider ring ice cube idea! So festive and lots of fun.
I have found candy experiments to be a great way of using up Halloween candy–my kids can do experiments forever, and there’s a lot you can do, even if you just dump piece by piece into a bowl of water, or heating a whole bunch in the oven to see what happens.
Another idea is to donate extra candy to food banks. I spoke with a food bank representative who suggested letting kids donate their extra candy to a food bank, and choosing some healthy foods to donate as well. That struck me as a good way to teach both generosity and nutrition.
[…] Hosting or heading off to a Halloween party? For some tips and ideas for a healthier Halloween party, including how to make a melon brain, and apple bites – read Healthy Halloween. […]
[…] Hosting or heading off to a Halloween party? For some tips and ideas for a healthier Halloween party, including how to make a melon brain, and apple bites – read Sara’s blog on creating a Healthy Halloween. […]
© copyright 2015 Sara Vance