Happy Sunday friends!
This past Monday, I did a segment on Fox 17 news about how you can have a healthier Halloween by making just a few simple swaps. Watch the video here and be sure to check out the fun recipes below…it’s spooky how easy these swaps are muhahaha (ok, I couldn’t resist).
According to CNN, consumers are projected to spend an average of $2.1 billion on Halloween candy each year. With Halloween just a few weeks away, the Halloween candy is flooding the shelves at the grocery store. According to recent reports, kids consume up to 7,000 calories on Halloween. With the American Heart Association warning against excessive added sugar intake in the American diet, it’s important to not let the temptations of Halloween candy debunk you or your children’s healthy lifestyle. By making just a few changes this Halloween, you can help avoid extra weight gain associated with the holiday season.
What’s the general rule of thumb to keep weight off this Halloween?
By following the “Rule of One”, in other words, limiting your sweet or candy intake to one daily around Halloween, you can still participate in the fun, but not over-do it with added sugar. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your added sugar intake to 6 teaspoons daily for women and 9 teaspoons for men.
What are some simple swaps for a healthier Halloween?
- Create a healthy and fun environment –
- Start the evening off right by feeding your children a healthy dinner before trick or treating so they are less likely to over-indulge on candy all night.
- Instead of only having candy and sweets available when friends come over, provide healthier snacks, such as pumpkin clementines, ghostly bananas, or apple monsters. You and your children will be more likely to consume nutrient-dense foods, instead of added calories from sugary candy all night.
- Change your mentality –
- Offer miniature-size or snack-size candy bars instead of full size candy bars to help keep the added calories at bay. Two fun size candy bars or 4 miniature candy bars provide close to half the calories of a full size candy bar, while still allowing you to enjoy this fun holiday without the extra weight gain.
- Rather than giving out only candy to the trick or treaters, try handing out fun and inexpensive toys, such as wax fangs, spooky tattoos, and plastic spider rings. Kids tend to love new toys about as much as candy.
- Cut calories – Try healthier spins on some of our favorite Halloween sweets or foods.
- Swap out caramel apples for a pumpkin, peanut butter yogurt dip served with apples or phyllo apple cups.
- Instead of sugar-laden candy corn in a bowl, spice it up with mini candy corn fruit parfaits, using fresh pineapple, oranges, and vanilla yogurt.
- Construct a plan –
- Out of sight, out of mind. This saying tends to be true particularly when considering your Halloween candy both before and after Halloween. Rather than buying your candy ahead of time in preparation for Halloween night, wait to get your candy a day or two before the big night to avoid temptation to break open the candy before the holiday night.
- This also applies to after Halloween. Don’t let that leftover candy linger around the house even if it is only the miniature or snack size. Make a plan to donate your extra candy to a local food pantry, shelter, or non-profit organization.
Try these easy recipes
I’d like to share the recipes involved in these simple swaps to make your Halloween a healthier one.
Candy Corn Fruit Cocktail
Yield: 4 servings
1 cup diced pineapple
4 clementine, peeled and segments separated
½ cup low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp. candy corn
- In a clear parfait glass, layer pineapple, then clementine, followed by Greek yogurt and candy corn.
Apples, cut into slices
Almond butter (or other nut butter)
Semisweet chocolate chips
- Place one apple slice flat on a plate and then spread the back edge with some nut butter. Stick another apple slice into the nut butter so that the two apple slices look like an open mouth.
- Stick some slivered almonds vertically into the nut butter to add teeth and then stick two chocolate chips into the upper apple slice to add eyes.
Semisweet chocolate chips
- Slice a banana in half and then stick two chocolate chips into the top of the banana to make eyes and add one more chocolate chip underneath those two to make a ghoulish mouth.
Pumpkin, Peanut Butter, Yogurt Dip
1/2 cup Pumpkin
1/4 cup Plain low fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup Peanut butter or flour (or PB2)
1/4 cup Baking stevia (or 1/2 cup sweetener that measures like sugar)
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Pumpkin pie spice
- Place everything in a small bowl and stir until smooth and creamy. Serve with apples slices.
Apple Phyllo Cups
Non-stick cooking spray
2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch chunks
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons water
4 (9×16) sheets phyllo pastry, thawed
1 cup fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a standard muffin pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a large pot, combine the apples, cranberries, lemon juice, zest, agave, ginger, cinnamon and allspice. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the juices in the pot thicken and very little syrup remains, about 10 minutes, set aside to cool.
- In a small bowl, mix the melted butter and water. Unfold the phyllo, lay one sheet on a cutting board, and brush the dough with the melted-butter-water mixture — be sure to keep the pastry you are not working with covered with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out. Repeat three times, stacking the layers of dough on top of each other so that you have four layers.
- Cut the stack of phyllo sheets three times crosswise and then cut again lengthwise twice so you have 12 even squares. Lay the phyllo squares in the wells of the muffin pan and gently press them into the cups, letting the edges fold and overlap naturally.
- Spoon ¼ cup of cooled apple mixture into the phyllo cups. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until nicely browned. Let the apple cups cool in the pan before trying to remove them. Serve warm with a small spoonful of frozen yogurt.
*Quick Tip: Short on time? Buy the pre-made phyllo cups. You just add the filling and bake! Easy peasy.