Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, mainly because this means the beginning of fall, the ability to be anything or anyone for one night, and I would be lying if I didn’t say the food that comes along with this time of year; everything from hot chocolate, soups, and even the candy. This has not changed much as I’ve become older, though the sweet treats on my radar these days have evolved to support my lifestyle and values.
If you have young children, Halloween can be something you dread more than you look forward to, especially if your family eats a whole foods diet. It’s not realistic to keep children away from the treats. Either your child will turn against you, or you will have a band of angry mom and dads questioning your parenting.
“Halloween comes once a year, it’s not gong to kill my child having candy for one night”
This may be true, although nowadays the treat giving is not limited to just one night. The whole month of October leading up to Halloween is typically filled with pre trick -or- treating and parties. It’s always interesting to me how the “sick” season is when the consumption of sugar is the highest throughout the year, typically the months from October through December, not to mention all the other occasions throughout the year that our children are exposed to sugar. Is this coincidental, or could it be that our immune systems are at an all time low and we are more susceptible to “catching” a cold or the the flu?
So what is a parent to do?
Here are some ideas of healthy Halloween treats as well as alternatives (Kid approved!) to try on the kiddos:
1. Real, Dark, Fair Trade Certified Chocolate– Who doesn’t like chocolate? The less sugar, the higher the cacao percentage, the more health benefits it has. Let your kids develop a palate for real chocolate instead of the sugar laden chemical filled versions. Organic is best, but I know this can be expensive when giving out in large quantities. These bite sized chocolates are perfect for this purpose.
2. Homemade Real Hot Cocoa– Using raw milk, raw cacao powder and maple syrup to sweeten- comforting and indulging for both kids and adults. This is my favorite recipe. Try adding peppermint for an extra warmth.
3. Healthier Halloween Candy– I was blown away when I discovered these recipes thanks to Eleana’s Pantry. Rediscover your favorite candy bars in a homemade healthy version. From Mounds and Almond Joy Bars to Peanut Butter Cups and my personal favorite Peppermint Patties, you can’t go wrong! These commercial cleaner versions of traditional candy are great alternatives to handout to trick or treaters. I’m a big fan of this UNREAL candy, and they are kid approved!
4. Stickers and Other Halloween-Themed Supplies– Take the focus off of the candy and shop for some festive orange and black Halloween-themed school supplies…pencils, stickers, coloring books, crayons and markers are a great way to inspire kids’ imagination – exactly what this holiday should do. I’ve given these out in the past and found that these glow bracelets are always well received or these fun eye ball erasers for school.
5. Toasted Pumpkin Seeds– So maybe not a treat necessarily, but still delicious! Show kids that you can utilize the seeds they gather from carving the pumpkin and turn them into a snack. You can roast them plain or try this chili and lime recipe which has always been a hit in my home.
7. Trade In!– Allow your kids to participate in the festivities, especially trick or treating, though once they return, have small gifts that you can allow them to trade their candy in for (this works better if you get them something you know they will like). Once they trade it, make sure and get rid of the evidence so it doesn’t appear again.
8. Caramel Apples– This is my all time favorite dessert ever, whether its fall or not, I can eat these anytime of year. Most recipes call for corn syrup, but I finally found one that tastes amazing utilizing maple syrup instead thanks to Deliciously Organic.
9. Frozen Bananas Rolled in Coconut– These are super simple and great for parties! Cut the banana in half width wise and insert a popsicle stick into the flat end. Melt a bit of coconut oil and coat the banana in the oil and roll in shredded coconut. Place 3 chocolate chips on for the eyes and mouth, then set it on a baking sheet greased with coconut oi l and allow to freeze overnight. You now got yourself a delicious and healthy festive dessert that’s cute too!
10. Chocolate Dipped Fruit– Make sure and use high quality dark chocolate. Melt in a fondue pot to resemble a “witches brew”. Have fruit (apples, berries, kiwis, bananas, pears, oranges) that has been cut on skewers surrounding the pot so kids can dip into the fondue.
If you have to give traditional candy for trick- or- treating, consider certified organic versions made with Fair Trade organic sugar that wasn’t genetically modified, and dyed with vegetable juices, not synthetic flavors and colors. Check out UNREAL candy, a wonderful company already doing this.
Want more indulgent treats and dessert ideas?
I often advise my clients to follow an anti- inflammatory diet to support the healing process through an inside out approach. This includes taking out major sensitivities and hard to digest foods such as grains. This can be hard this time of year when sweets traditionally made with wheat flour pop up all over the place. Don’t worry, you can still have your cake and eat it too! Check out Indulge,a grain free, nut, dairy and egg free dessert cookbook that allows you to have your treats guilt and pain free!
The focus of Indulge, is to bring you recipes made with natural ingredients that cater to individuals on a grain free diet.
Over 70 + recipes that include nut free & egg free recipes
Grain free diets are part of the movement found within the Primal diet, Ancestral diet, Real Food Movement and an overall desire to eat gluten free with an emphasis on foods that decrease inflammation. The ingredients chosen reflect the principles within these diet movements: natural, dairy free, low inflammation and grain free.