Kathy, a 61-year-old registered nurse who says her last name could be “Chocolate,” loves giving out candy to children. With Halloween creeping up, she has no doubt about sharing in the family treats or sampling her own holiday stash. “I’m getting older and once I start with the Halloween treats, I find it hard to keep my junk food snacking down the rest of the year.”
If you find it tempting to resist Halloween candy long before the first little goblin, superhero or fairy princess rings your doorbell, have no fear. We have a few healthy treat options to help you scare away high blood sugar and weight gain kicked off by Halloween. Stock your kitchen with these lower-sugar, higher-protein snacks and desserts for individual noshing, or create a fiendish spread for parties and family gatherings!
- Spiders on a Log Simply fill celery sticks with natural peanut butter and add plastic, nonedible spiders for a fun decoration.
- Bite-Sized Bats Shape goat cheese into 2-inch round balls and roll them in poppy seeds until they look like black bats. Press a kale or corn chip on each side to create a pair of wings. Add black olive slices as eyes.
- Monster Fingers Wrap cocktail-size franks in puff pastry and dip each “bandaged finger” in ketchup to accent the appetizers with the look of red nail polish.
- Scary Sweet Potato Fries with Dracula Dip Slice sweet potatoes into strips, season with salt, pepper and reduced-fat Parmesan cheese and bake to golden perfection. (Store-purchased frozen fries often have added fat and sugars.) Use marinara sauce for dipping.
- Great Pumpkin Sticks and Hummus Cut carrots into thick coin shapes. Stand the carrots on their edges and place a toothpick in the center of each top edge. Press a curly-leaf piece of parsley through each toothpick. Add a pumpkin stem by threading each toothpick with a small piece of cut scallion. Create a pumpkin patch by placing the pumpkin sticks across a platter spread with hummus.
- Frightfully Lower-Sugar There’s no need for your Halloween desserts to look like a ghost town. You can still bake and enjoy sweet treats and Halloween diabetic treats, just use these easy low-sugar substitutes: Use 3/4 cup honey in place of sugar and reduce other liquid ingredients by 2 tablespoons. Instead of a half-cup of white sugar in recipes, use an equal amount of unsweetened applesauce. Skip the sugar and add antioxidant-rich cranberries to your bread, muffin or scone recipes. Fresh-squeezed orange juice is another swap-out for sugar.
To top off your wholesome Halloween snacks, make your own “ghoul-aid” with no-sugar-added cranberry juice and sparkling water or club soda. Instead of candy bowls around the house this Halloween, put out bowls of clementines and roasted pumpkin seeds. Before trick-or-treaters arrive, be sure to eat a protein-rich dinner and keep a healthy snack bowl by the front door so you can confidently pass on digging into the chocolate. Well, at least with better moderation.
Do you have any healthy Halloween recipes? Share with us!
An award-winning journalist who has documented stories in nearly 20 countries, Beth Lueders is an author, writer and speaker who frequently reports on diverse topics, including aging and health issues for both U.S. and international corporations.