Healthy Options for Halloween

Though many have outgrown the tradition of trick or treating, Halloween still remains a time for extreme sugar highs and indulging in lots of unhealthy treats. Skip the candy bowl this year and instead opt for one of these healthy options. They are sure to treat your body well and not trick your system with empty calories.

For the little ones:

Trail Mix:
Portion control is key in keeping trail mix healthy. Homemade mixes are also good—you have better control over sodium intake and can ensure fresh and healthy ingredients.

Fruit Leather:

One strip of fruit leather contains half a serving of fruit with 50 calories and 0 grams of sugar. Be sure to read the ingredient labels before buying—some brands may have added artificial ingredients, dyes or high fructose corn syrup, ingredients that negate any healthy benefits.

Silly Bandz:
Kids love these fun bracelets—they come in an endless variety of shapes and colors! Get the glow-in-the-dark kind to light the way during this dark and spooky night.

Temporary Tattoos:
Temporary tattoos are the perfect (non-edible) addition to those colorful Halloween costumes.

For the more adult Halloween soirees, choose dishes that incorporate autumn super foods:

Pumpkins are the quintessential symbol of Halloween. Available in many sizes, shapes and colors, they belong to the same plant family as cucumbers, squash and cantaloupes. This low calorie vegetable is packed with anti-oxidants, vitamins A, C and E, as well as minerals such as copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. Many dieticians recommend pumpkin as a good food for controlling cholesterol and losing weight. A few examples of delicious healthy pumpkin dishes include: healthy pumpkin bread, roasted pumpkin seeds, frozen pumpkin mousse pie, curried pumpkin soup and many more—the possibilities are endless!

Unlike the poisoned apple that put Snow White into an enchanted sleep, apples have great health benefits. Useful for snacks and main dishes alike, this sweet but low calorie fruit has lots of fiber and vitamin C. A recent study found that women who ate a cup of dried apples daily for a year lost weight and lowered their cholesterol and heart disease markers. Be wary of apple juice or applesauce that contains artificially added sugar, such as high fructose corn syrup. Baked apple chips and apples with peanut butter are good snacks for any Halloween bash.

Sweet Potatoes:
This naturally sweet-tasting food is a great alternative to all those Halloween candies that are loaded with sugar.  Unlike many Halloween sweets that lead to weight gain and fatigue, the natural sugars in sweet potatoes provide a healthy source of energy and keep blood sugar levels steady.  This vitamin-rich vegetable also contains carotenoids, which are powerful anti-oxidants that may help protect the body against cancer.  Some research has shown that people who consume carotenoid-rich food are less likely to get certain types of cancer or experience a reoccurrence of the disease. Sweet potatoes can be enjoyed in a variety of ways: roasted, steamed, baked, grilled, and pureed. In the spirit of Halloween, try sweet potato pumpkins, by smashing the orange potatoes and placing stems from broccoli florets on top of the pumpkin balls.

Stay healthy this Halloween—skip the junk and opt for more substantial treats. We’d love to hear your best healthy Halloween recipes—what are some of your favorites?