Halloween is a week away! And while candy abounds during this festive time of year, that doesn't mean your treats have to be of the sticky-sweet variety. Adults and kids alike suffer from the inevitable sugar crashes that happen after indulging in too many candy bars, caramels, marshmallows and more. Though these treats are tasty, they wreak havoc on your body in the form of calories and chemical sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup. So instead of making the focus on grabbing all the candy you can, try out these healthy Halloween candy alternatives instead!
Healthy Alternatives To Halloween Candy
- Small Bags Of Lightly Salted Peanuts Or Mixed Nuts
Salty is sometimes just as satisfying as sweet - just watch out for high salt.
- Small Bags Of Trail Mix
Look for trail mix that contains more healthy ingredients like dried coconut, nuts and dried fruit instead of candy, pretzels and crackers.
- Dried Green Beans or other Veggie Chips
These crispy treats are fun to munch on and best of all - they're vegetables. You can find these snacks in many grocery or specialty food stores.
- Fruit Leathers Made With 100% Fruit
Be sure to select fruit leathers that do not contain sugar or artificial ingredients.
- Frozen Bananas (Dipped In a Thin Layer Of Chocolate)
Freeze bananas - either sliced, halved or whole - after dipping them in a thin layer of chocolate sauce. Make the sauce by combining slightly warmed coconut oil with melted organic dark chocolate (dark chocolate contains significantly less sugar than milk chocolate).
- Monster Mouths
Take two apple slices and apply natural peanut butter or almond butter to one side of each slice. Then, as in the photo above, place mini marshmallows or yogurt-covered raisins between the peanut buttered sides as teeth (possibly slipping in a regular raisin here and there for a missing "tooth").
- Homemade Pumpkin Mini Muffins
Use real pumpkin, organic whole wheat flour and organic sugar. Yes, it will have some sugar but not nearly as much as Halloween candy. Plus, certified organic sugar cannot be made from GMO beet sugar, so you eliminate the GMO ingredient found in many store bakeries! Pumpkin is high fiber and full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Make these mini muffins to help with portion control.
- Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
If you're carving a pumpkin, save the seeds! Wash them, toss them in a little olive oil and sea salt, and roast them on a cookie sheet in a low oven, stirring occaisionally until the seeds are golden brown. Pumpkin seeds are a healthy source of protein, iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. They also help regulate insulin so if you do indulge, the sugar spikes won't be as bad!
Non-food Alternatives To Halloween Candy
Whens kids say, "Trick or treat," the "treat" doesn't have to be food or candy! There are plenty of fun little items kids will love just as much. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Glow Sticks and Glow Rings
These come in many colors so you can let each child choose his or her favorite. They're especially fun on Halloween night!
- Halloween Coloring Books and Small Boxes of Crayons
All kids love to color, so a fresh coloring book and box of crayons are sure to be a hit. If you want to go really healthy, as well as eco-friendly, choose non-toxic crayons made from vegetable-based dyes like beets, spinach and carrots!
- Halloween Stickers
What kid doesn't love stickers? You can find packages of several sheets of Halloween stickers at discount stores for as low as $1. You could also cut the sheets in half to make them go further.
- Small Toys
Put the toys in a big bowl and let each child choose his or her favorite - just go to a toy store or party store with favors and pick out bouncy balls, slinkies, plastic rings and necklackes, whistles, rubber ducks, toy cars and airplanes, frisbees, bubbles, magnets and more!
Cara Focke is the Kids Club Director at the Five Seasons Family Sports Club in Cincinnati, Ohio.