Halloween is a rare holiday where losing your dignity to candy and sweets isn’t only allowed, but expected. It’s seen as a free-pass to indulge in chocolates, candies, sugars, and more.
But, Halloween doesn’t change the facts: childhood obesity is a serious problem (affecting 1 in every 3 children in the U.S.), and the number of diabetes cases is growing (up to 1.4 million Americans diagnosed every year).
Halloween treats, usually filled with sugar and carbs, have no desired nutritional value, unlike foods rich in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Having said that, swapping a Mars Bar for barley or lima beans won’t make your trick-or-treaters happy. Sure, you’re looking out for their health, but they’ll trade those beans a la Jack and the Beanstalk for any sugary alternative.
Luckily, you can pull a trick on your trick-or-treaters by swapping their sugary favourites with equally sweet, but healthy, alternatives. Who says sweet can’t be salubrious?
Try these sweet, um, sweets as alternatives to junk food and the empty calorie trap:
- Lollipops are a Halloween staple, sticking to hundreds and hundreds of trick-or-treaters annually. But, they’re more sugar than anything, and offer zero nutritional value. Swap those lollipops for fruit-pops instead. Pineapples, papaya, and melons can be molded with cookie cutters, and attached to sticks. You can even dip them in chocolate for an extra bit of sweet. This is much healthier – and arguably, more delicious – substitute for lollies.
- Chocolate-covered strawberries aren’t just reserved for Valentine’s Day. They’re another healthy sweet treat you can try, or try a kebab made of grapes, bananas, apple wedges, or pears. Opt for ripe fruit, and avoid any sweeteners. Again, these fruit kebabs can be dipped in yogurt or chocolate for extra indulgence!
- Smoothies always have a place in our stomachs, and Halloween is no exception. Fruit smoothies can be served in small plastic cups, and festively decorated with low-fat cream. If you’re not sure what kind of smoothie to make, the two vegetables+two fruits principle can be followed. For a spooky green Frankenstein smoothie, blend spinach, bananas, and yogurt together, finishing with a baby carrot inside to resemble a dismembered finger.
- Another smoothie tip: combine your smoothies with peanut butter, coconut milk, almond milk, low-fat milk, or yogurt for a boost of protein to compliment the nutritional value of your smoothie.
- Okay, one more smoothie trick (hey, they’re versatile): freeze your smoothies! Festive-shaped ice-cube trays can be used to create fun ice-pops that are healthier than freezies or ice creams.
- We haven’t forgotten about the tradition of the colour orange in association with Halloween. Concoct a delectable carrot juice, mixed with fresh orange juice or tangerine juice.
The treats above all have their strengths, coming loaded with vitamins C, D, E, and K, as well as important minerals like potassium, calcium, fiber, protein, and good fats. They’re fun and healthy alternatives for both children and adults to enjoy during the holiday, while remaining conscious of the risk for diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer.