Trick or Treat? How to have a healthier halloween
It's Halloween! And if you have kids, or even if you don't, you may find yourself faced with a bunch of candy and junk food. And this is often just the beginning of a holiday season full of tempting sweets that leave you feeling crummy. What can you do so that you or your kids don't go to bed with a bellyache from too many sweets, or wake up with a sugar hangover? Here are some ideas.
Eat a big healthy meal before the sweets start. And eat extra greens and veggies for breakfast and lunch and the next day. I say this because of the principle of food pairing: An extra dose of healthy antioxidants and immune boosting nutrients can help your body to process the sugar you take in and feel it's effects less. Having a full belly will also make it less likely that you will make a dinner out of candy.
Give your kids a smaller container for collecting candy and tell them to only take one piece at each house, reminding them they will get to visit more houses if they do this. Then find a neighborhood where you can walk from house to house rather than drive! The exercise will help them process the sugar better and make it more fun!
If you are passing things out to trick or treaters go for healthy or non food items. I like the idea of passing out things like glow sticks, bouncy balls, vampire teeth, temporary tattoos, or spider rings. If you prefer to go the healthy food route try clementines with a Jack O' lantern face drawn on them, fortune cookies, fruit snacks, or snack sized packages of pretzels or dried fruit. Fruit leathers and gum also work well.
Focus on the spooky decorations more than the treats! Go all out with your costume and lawn decorations, making your house one to remember. Maybe even do a mini haunted house! They will barely notice if they don't get a candy bar at the end.
If you are hosting a halloween party there are tons of opportunities to get creative with healthy food options! And remember, healthy doesn't have to mean not yummy. Try making your own chocolate and sweeten with honey, maple syrup, or stevia rather than sugar. Build a Jack O' lantern using fruits and vegetables. Or make a chia seed pudding with plastic spiders in it (just make sure your guests know not to try to eat the spiders!) or a Milano cookie as a tombstone. Pumpkin pie is another favorite and perfect for the season. I love making the crust from scratch using nuts, dates, and coconut oil to give a delicious but healthy crunch.
This is a good opportunity to take your favorite recipes and see if you can make them just a little bit healthier. How can you do this? Replace margarine or shortening with organic grass fed butter. Try cutting the amount of sugar in half and sweetening with honey, stevia, maple syrup, or dates instead. If it calls for chocolate, use dark chocolate, like semi sweet chocolate chips, or 100% baking chocolate. If it uses white flour experiment with another kind of flour- maybe whole wheat, maybe coconut or almond flour, or maybe a gluten free flour mix. Whipped cream? Why not make the real thing from organic grass fed whipping cream rather than buying the ready to go canister?
Hope these tips help you to enjoy Halloween and feel excited for the holidays!
Have a favorite recipe for the holiday season that you want help making healthier? Send it to me at MiwaRobbins@gmail.com and I will help you figure out how!