The month of October could be considered 31 days of sugar shock. Children everywhere are tempted to scarf down Halloween-themed treats to tide them over until the Big Day of trick-or-treating arrives. It’s hard for our little ones to say no to cookies, cupcakes, and candy on any given day of the year, but on Halloween, it’s expected that anything goes. Teachers host parties in their classrooms, parents throw bashes at their houses, and besides the adorable kid costumes and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” blaring in the background, everyone is on the lookout for fun and festive goodies. With obesity in children and teens being between 16% to 33% in the U.S alone (http://obesityinchildren.net/), how do we find a balance when celebrating a calorie-driven holiday with foods that our children will enjoy?
The good news is that kids will eat pretty much anything if it’s displayed in a fun and creative way. But since it’s Halloween, let’s keep it light, tasty and festive for both kids and adults alike. The following recipes have been a hit over the years at the many children’s themed parties I’ve hosted, and I hope one or two of them tickle your fancy!
Apple “Pumpkins” with Dip
Pumpkins aren’t the only fruit that look cool with scary faces.
2-3 large red apples
1 box of toothpicks
Low fat fruit dip
Use a knife to remove the top of the apple sand carve out the insides, leaving room to fill them with dip. You’ll need to have enough of the apple left to carve a silly or scary face on the outside surface. Arrange slices of the assorted fruits on a platter, along with the toothpicks, and let the little ones play with their food as they make their own fruit kebobs for dipping.
Rice Cake Graveyard
And you thought rice cakes tasted like cardboard…
Chocolate rice cakes
Cut the rice cakes into squares (or you can use whole ones) and apply peanut butter as an adhesive for the plastic gravestone toppers. Sprinkle a bit of cocoa powder on the cakes to give it even more of a “dirt” feel. Oh, and make sure to get chocolate rice cakes only. The effect of a graveyard doesn’t sit so well when the cakes are white or caramel colored.
Eat Me. Drink Me.
“Curiouser and curiouser!”
Angelfood cake cups
1 tub of Cool Whip
Strawberry glaze (usually found next to the angel food cups)
Piping tool or sandwich bag
Ginger ale (7-Up, Sprite for substitutes)
Spread a dollop of cool whip onto the angelfood cups and use a piping bag (or a sandwich bag) to pipe the words “Eat Me” on top. The glaze provides that ooey, gooey bloody effect which kids love. For the brew, pour cold ginger ale soda into a shot glass, goblet or something fun, and add a small scoop of lime or lemon frozen yogurt or sorbet. Buy some sticker labels, write “Drink Me” in a creepy manuscript and watch the bubbling potion widen the eyes of your little ones. This is a super fun kick back to the lovely lady from Wonderland.
Halloween Cream Cheese and Jelly Sandwiches
Low fat cream cheese
Jam or Jelly
Halloween-themed cookie cutters
This one’s simple but fun. Use the low fat cream cheese and orange (optional) jam or jelly on whole wheat bread to make sandwiches. Use pumpkin cookie cutters, for example, to create mini sandwiches. Top it off with raisins or candy corn for decoration, or get creative with faces, etc.
One large tub of cottage cheese (16 oz)
1 container Cool Whip
2 large cans of crushed pineapple
2 packets of Jello Instant pistachio pudding
Mix the instant pudding and crushed pineapples with a large wooden spoon until blended. You can use just one can, if you’d like, and the second can for a little bit of extra juice for blending. Fold in the container of cottage cheese until you’re basically looking at a mess of green chunks, fold in the cool whip and let set overnight in the fridge. I swear it’s DELICIOUS and I confess to eating bowls of it by myself. Your kids will love the green coloring, and maybe you can kick it up with a cool name (something wickedly gross) to entice them.
It’s never too late to implement a healthy way of living into your child’s diet, even on Halloween! Enjoy your children, family and friends with a festive celebration filled with great snacks that will make YOU feel like a kid again.