A Healthy Halloween
By Brittany Craft, RDN, LDN, with Ochsner’s Eat Fit Northshore
If you’re in the midst of building a healthy lifestyle, it’s possible the spookiest part of the Halloween season is the candy and sweets that inevitably come with it. While there is certainly room within a healthy diet to indulge in some of the festive treats, it’s important to find balance so that we continue to fuel our bodies well. Use these tips to set yourself up for success as you celebrate Halloween!
Costumes have been donned, and you’re ready to take to the streets for a fun night of trick-or-treating. Here’s how to have a healthier outing.
1. Eat a filling meal before trick-or-treating. Build in time in the schedule for a sit-down, well-balanced meal before you leave the house. That way you won’t find yourself out in the neighborhood, hungry, with only bags of candy to fill up on.
2. Stick to one treat per house. Kids can have fun choosing their favorite candy out of the bowl, and you’re likely to end up bringing less home at the end of the night. Bring a small, festive container to hold the treats instead of an oversized pillowcase to keep the candy haul within manageable amounts.
3. Get moving! Trick-or-treating is an excellent way to encourage activity in exploring your neighborhood! Walk instead of driving and venture out to the streets that are furthest away.
Back At Home
Whether you’re the designated person staying home to hand out treats, throwing a Halloween party, or just need help navigating the piles of candy collected by your kids when they return for the evening, these tips are for you!
1. Offer non-food treats to trick-or-treaters. You can always choose to hand-out nutritious foods like boxes of raisins or mandarin oranges, but consider also offering non-food treats and toys. These are items kids will be just as delighted to receive and they last a lot longer than candy! Some ideas include bouncy balls, glow sticks, crayons, stickers, temporary tattoos, bubbles, spider rings, bookmarks, and Halloween pencils or erasers.
Bonus: handing out non-food items is a way to accommodate children with food allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages home-owners to paint a pumpkin teal and place it outside to signify that they are offering allergy-safe alternatives for treats.
2. Incorporate healthy foods into festive activities. Not all Halloween fun has to involve trick-or-treating. Other fun activities include decorating oranges to look like jack-o-lanterns, carving pumpkins together and roasting the seeds for a satisfying snack, and bobbing for apples (with a separate bowl of water and apple for each person.)
3. Savor your favorite treats, while teaching self-control and mindful eating. Instead of making candy off-limits, choose to serve it after filling up on a healthy snack. When you decide to indulge in a favorite treat, really savor it! Eat slowly and think about the taste, texture, and smell.
4. Keep only the candy you really enjoy. Keep your favorites, but donate or dispose of the candy that no one in your house really looks forward to. That way, when you’ve finished eating through your favorites, you aren’t left with a bucket of “rejects” that you’re only eating because they’re there.
5. Skip the guilt trip. A healthy lifestyle is more about your overall eating pattern than the few times you may have eaten more sweets than you intended. If you’re going to eat a dessert, enjoy it! Know that you can still maintain a healthy diet moving forward! Feeling guilty can lead to the slippery slope of, “I overdid it on candy this morning, so I might as well give up on eating well today.”
Healthier Halloween Treats
Try some of these Halloween treats to enjoy the festive October season while fueling your body well all month long.
· Monster teeth made with apples, peanut butter, and yogurt-covered raisins or goji berries
· “Boo-nana” pops with frozen bananas, white chocolate or yogurt, and chocolate chips for eyes
· Witches’ brooms made with pretzel sticks and string cheese
· Roasted pumpkin seeds (sweet or savory!)
· Baked apples with cinnamon and nuts
· Chocolate Salted Peanut Butter Cups (made in a pumpkin-shaped mold, recipe below!)
Chocolate Salted Peanut Butter Cups Makes 6 servings
· 6 tablespoons coconut oil (melted) or salted butter
· 6 tablespoons of cocoa powder (unsweetened)
· 3 tablespoons Swerve, Confectioners
Peanut Butter Filling:
· 6 teaspoons peanut butter (no sugar added)
· 2 tablespoons cocoa butter (melted)
· 1 tablespoon Swerve, Confectioners
· ½ teaspoon kosher salt or Celtic sea salt
In a muffin pan, place muffin liners in 6 cups. Set aside.
Whisk together melted coconut oil, cocoa powder, and Swerve in a medium bowl. Place a tablespoon of chocolate mixture in each muffin liner. Freeze for 5 minutes.
In a separate, microwave safe bowl, whisk together melted cocoa butter, peanut butter, Swerve, and salt. Once combined, zap in microwave for 10 seconds. Remove chocolate from freezer, and add one teaspoon and a half of peanut butter mixture to the frozen chocolate coating. Freeze for another three minutes.
Remove from freezer, and add a tablespoon of remaining chocolate in each cup, covering the peanut butter mixture. Freeze for five minutes and eat.
Store in fridge or freezer in an airtight storage container. Note - If desired, let soften for 15-20 minutes before eating.
Per Serving: 200 calories, 21 grams fat, 15 grams saturated fat (all plant-based sat fat if use coconut oil), 180 mg sodium, 10 grams carbohydrate (1 gram net carb), 2 grams fiber, 0 sugar, 2 grams protein.
Looking for healthy recipes? Download the Eat Fit Smartphone app and check out the NEW! Eat Fit Cookbook at www.EatFitCookbook.com
About Eat Fit
Eat Fit is a nonprofit initiative of Ochsner Health System, designed to help the community live their healthiest, strongest lives possible. The team of Eat Fit dietitians works closely with local restaurants, markets and other foodservice establishments to identify and develop dishes that meet the Eat Fit nutritional criteria. These items are identified directly on the menu with the Eat Fit seal of approval, making the healthy choice the easy choice when dining out.
Free to all restaurants and foodservice partners, Eat Fit encourages nutritious choices whether an individual is looking to lose weight, feel better or look better, as well as help to manage health issues including diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure.
With more than 300 partners, Eat Fit has expanded across the state to include Eat Fit Northshore, Eat Fit BR, Eat Fit Acadiana, Eat Fit Shreveport, and Eat Fit Monroe, with support by Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Louisiana.
The Eat Fit team connects deeply within the Eat Fit communities, serving as a resource for all things wellness. Download the Eat Fit smartphone app to find participating restaurants with full nutrition facts of Eat Fit menu items, as well as recipes, community wellness resources, and to connect with a health professional in your area.