By Jen Hartman, YMCA Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
If your kids are anything like mine, they live for the holidays, especially Halloween. We have parties at school, the local pumpkin farm, our church Trunk or Treat, trick-or-treating through the neighborhood... The candy stash seems endless!
The brightly colored treats are impossible for them to resist, and who am I kidding? We adults are no different!
Who doesn’t love digging through the candy bowl at work to find your favorite childhood chocolate or taffy? I’ll be the first to admit that I am too often guilty of splurging for that caramel apple at the farm or even raiding my kids’ candy bags. Opportunities for our favorite fall treats are everywhere!
While having a couple pieces of candy during the Halloween season is completely acceptable, the problems begin when that occasional indulgence becomes a daily or twice-daily habit.
Skip the guilt this season, and find a few treats to enjoy that won’t leave you feeling sick to your stomach, ashamed or like you wish you’d worn stretchier pants! Below, I’ve provided easy recipes for five of my favorite healthy Halloween treats: trail mix, popcorn balls, apple nachos, tangerine pumpkins and pumpkin pie dip.
Fall-Inspired Trail Mix
Who doesn’t love a good trail mix? This recipe is perfect for an after school snack or making a big batch for a Halloween party! You only need one of each of these:
- Box of Cheerios cereal
- Box of oatmeal squares cereal
- Box of cheese crackers
- Bag of dark chocolate morsels
- Bag of seasonal M&Ms
- Cup of peanuts
- Cup of almonds
- Bag of dried cranberries or raisins
Mix all the ingredients together. Portion out into small bags for a quick snack on the go.
My kids love popcorn! We love popping our own on Friday nights and watching a movie together. During the fall season, popcorn balls are a special treat we enjoy. These two-ingredient popcorn balls are super easy to put together and taste great too! To add a touch of extra sweetness, drizzle with a little dark chocolate or toss with a sprinkle of cinnamon. You can also pop your own popcorn instead of using store-bought.
Probably one of my favorite fall treats is a caramel apple. Try this healthier twist!
- 1 large apple (Honeycrisp or Granny Smith work great!)
- 2 tbsp peanut or almond butter, warmed
- 1/4 cup crushed pretzels
- 1/4 cup granola
- 1/4 dried cranberries or dark chocolate chips
- shredded coconut (optional)
Slice the apple and arrange it on a plate. Drizzle with warm peanut butter (or almond butter). Top with crushed pretzels, granola, and dried cranberries/dark chocolate. Add shredded coconut, if desired.
These delightful treats could not be any simpler or healthier! (See photo at top of post.) All you need are some tangerines and celery sticks. Peel the fruit and cut the celery into small pieces for the pumpkin stems. Now, stick the pieces into the top of the tangerines, and you're all done! These treats are really fun for kids to help out with as well.
Pumpkin Pie Dip
Perfect for Halloween parties! Serve with apple slices, gingersnaps or pretzels.
- 6 oz vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 can (15 oz) pure pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 4 oz Cool Whip
Blend yogurt, brown sugar, pumpkin puree and spices together until smooth. Fold in Cool Whip. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
Establish Healthy Habits with the Y
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