Goblins, ghouls, ghosts, and goodies. Which one frightens you the most? Personally, the goodies that children bring home from a successful Trick-or-Treating adventure is enough to give me endless nightmares of horrible dental visits with my children. The cost, the repetitive visits, the pain that my children endure.. it’s enough to make me cringe more than Freddy Krueger ever could. So how can we try to incorporate healthy food choices into the Halloween season without feeling like we have deprived our children of the hours upon hours of ringing doorbells, knocking on doors, and screaming out “Trick or Treat!”?
Healthy snacks that are fun for children to assemble and eat will be one of the stopping points along the journey to weeding out all of the oozing, sugar coated bars of hyper activity that are dropped into their bags. By adding healthy snacks into their diet, and rationing whatever candy they do receive while out trick or treating, you can compromise enough to maybe avoid those dental bills that could surely lurk in your future.
Below are five sure fire recipes that will be fun for both children and parents to construct and eat (we don’t have to tell them they are healthy!).
Ants on a Log
Peanut butter or Cream Cheese
Raisins or Chopped Black Olives
After rinsing celery and cutting into sticks, allow children to spread theirs with peanut butter, then top with raisins (for ants). Or, for a non-sweet treat, spread with cream cheese, followed by chopped black olives (for ants).
This recipe is super simple, which moms will love. It will also require almost no time consumption to make, so kids are more likely to be interested in making them. Giving them the option of going the peanut butter route, or following the cream cheese path, will leave room for less whining about not liking the choice of snacks.
Hard boiled eggs
Green olives with pimentos
Hard boil the eggs in a pan of water. Peel when done, then slice in half lengthwise. Remove the yolk center and mix in a bowl with enough mayonnaise to turn into a creamy consistency. Add a teaspoon of mustard, then stir until mixed well. Pipe or spoon the mixture back into the egg white halves. Slice green olives into this circles, place one circle on top of each egg white half. Place a small piece of pimento in the center of each green olive.
Children will adore the concept behind this recipe. Although there is a bit of leg work for the adult, watching your children’s face light up when you explain that they are devilish eyes will have you returning to the kitchen again and again to repeat this recipe.
1 large apple per person
1 teaspoon butter per person
1 teaspoon raspberry jam per person
1 gummy worm per person
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For each apple, run an apple corer down through the middle (going through the stem) until you get nearly to the bottom. DO NOT CUT ALL OF THE WAY THROUGH THE APPLE. Remove the corer. Fill the hole with the 1 teaspoon butter and 1 teaspoon jam. When all apples are done with these steps, place in a pan and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the apple. The apples should be tender before removing from the oven. Let cool for 15 minutes.
Place 1 apple in a shallow bowl. Spoon extra jam mixture from the bottom of the pan around the apple, then place a gummy worm inside the cored part. Leave half the worm hanging out and dangling down the side.
This treat is so delicious that children won’t know it’s healthy! The effect alone is enough to engage your child in actively eating this wonderful treat. For adults, it’s a cinch to prepare!
24 round crackers
Smooth Peanut butter
Small pretzel sticks
Place 1 cracker, smooth side up, on a plate. Spread with a 1/4 in. thick layer of peanut butter. Top with 1 more cracker, rough side up. Insert 4 pretzel sticks into each side of the cracker sandwich to create “legs”. On the top cracker, place 2 small dabs of peanut butter, then stick raisins into each dab. Makes 12 snack sandwiches.
For an even healthier alternative, parents can choose to substitute the peanut butter for cream cheese, and the raisins for chopped black olives. Children will love devouring their own little spider bites, and will ask for this treat again and again.
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
red food dye
In a blender, puree yogurt and strawberries until smooth. Add red food dye until the mix becomes the color of blood, then pour into a glass that is filled 1/3 of the way with ice.
When Halloween rolls around, most children love to think of themselves as thirsty little vampires looking for their next victim. Decrease the casualties from “bites” by serving this as a quick snack. Parents love the health benefits that this drink provides!
When you incorporate healthy snacks as an alternative to candy binging from the Halloween bags, you can reduce the sugar rush, upset tummies, and tooth aches that most inevitably follow the consumption of their loot. And, by offering a healthy snack as a compromise before getting a piece of candy, children won’t feel the need to binge on sugary goodies before dinner time.