It’s almost that time of year. Halloween candy is already populating most grocery stores. I find myself lamenting that the concept of putting “Halloween” and “healthy” together doesn’t seem to garnish enough interest. The most popular focus of Halloween definitely seems to be sugary spooky treats without a healthy ingredient in sight. Here some ideas for healthier Halloween food.
Take a quick look at Halloween recipes online. You will find lots of spooky creations like worms in dirt, witch’s fingers, Frankenstein cupcakes, etc. Most of those “recipes” are nothing more than covering a pre-prepared treat with pre-prepared frosting or chips, sprinkles, etc.
It’s a challenge to find a recipes that isn’t made of 90% junk. The resources to help make Halloween recipes a bit more healthy can be difficult to find. I’m all for Halloween treats, but I also like to have healthy options for my family. I have a sweet tooth too so I can relate to everyone dreaming of chocolate, caramel, and sugary goodness.
Think outside the box
At the same time, I want to encourage you to think outside the box and inspire some new Halloween recipes that are spooky, healthy and delicious. These include whole foods, which are naturally colored in vibrant Halloween shades, but are actually nutritious. The nutrients are best maintained raw, but if needed just lightly steam or bake the foods. Look at all of these great ideas in Halloween colors.
- BLACK: poppy seeds, raisins, currents, black beans, cocoa, carob
- PURPLE: blueberries, purple cabbages, blackberries, eggplant/plum (skin only)
- GREEN: leafy greens, broccoli, kiwis, peas, green beans, avocados, celery, green onions, herbs, green apples (skin only)
- ORANGE: pumpkin and other winter squash, oranges, carrots, cantaloupes, persimmons, orange bell peppers, yams
- RED: beets, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, red bell peppers, cranberries, tomatoes, pomegranates, red onions, red delicious apples (skin only)
- YELLOW: pineapples, bananas, corn, yellow bell peppers
- WHITE: coconuts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, lychees, dragonfruit (some varieties)
When baking, try alternative sweeteners to white sugar. This will help minimize the crazy sugar rush that kids get. It also helps keep the Glycemic Index lower. Here are some substitute ideas:
To Replace 1 cup White Sugar:
- Agave Nectar = 3/4 cup (reduce other liquids by 1/3 cup)
- Barley Malt = 1 1/2 cups (reduce other liquids by 1/4 cup)
- Brown Rice Syrup = 1 1/3 cup (reduce other liquids by 1/4 cup and add 1/4 tsp. baking soda)
- Molasses 1 1/3 cup (reduce other liquids by 1/4 cup and add 1/2 tsp. baking soda)
- Fruit Juice Concentrate = 1 1/2 cups (reduce other liquids by 1/4 cup)
- Maple Syrup = 3/4 cup (reduce other liquids by 1/8 cup)
Another easy way to add some nutrition to a baked recipe is to use flours other than white wheat. I like a 50/50 mix of spelt flour and whole wheat flour. The taste difference is barely noticeable. There are many other kinds of non-wheat flours available as well.
Follow these tips
Here are a few more general tips that can help you create healthy Halloween Foods
- Aim for lots of colors and textures
- Try new ingredients so you don’t get bored using the same old thing
- Create homemade meals and treats whenever possible.
- Eat healthy foods first and save treats for dessert time. If you fill up on real food, you will be less likely to over indulge on junk food.
- Drink plenty of water. We often mistake thirst for hunger (especially when eating too much sugar), which causes us to over eat.
- Use frozen vegetables instead of canned to cut sodium and increase flavor and nutrition.
- Eat lots of raw fruits and veggies!
- Avoid all artificial chemical sweeteners
What are your favorite healthy Halloween recipes and tips? Please leave your suggestions in the comments!