Healthy Halloween Treats – 10 Tips

Make this special night both fun and healthy.

Here are 10 healthy Halloween treats and tips from our faculty at the Pritikin Longevity Center. For nearly 40 years, Pritikin has been teaching people how to live a long, healthy, and delicious life.

Healthy Halloween Treats

Of course, your little goblins will go wild on October 31! That’s what Halloween is all about! Here are tips for treats that can help them stay energized and healthy for decades to come.

1

Fuel them up before they go trick-or-treating.

Before they head out the door, try to get them to relax (we know this isn’t easy!) and sit down to dinner, or, at least, a fruit plate and a cup of yogurt. That way, their appetites for the rest of the evening will be curbed, somewhat. (Maybe they’ll be happy with five or six little chocolates, not 16.)

2

Lighten up.

It’s important to allow some junk. “When our son Jordan was a child, we never prohibited anything,” says Dr. William McCarthy of the UCLA School of Public Health and member of the Pritikin Scientific Advisory Board. “That way, Jordan never got the impression that things like candy and cookies were precious.”

Halloween Candy Tips

It’s important to allow some junk because you never want your children to get the impression that candy is precious.

3

Meter it out.

On Halloween night, Jordan was allowed to select a few candies, then mom and dad put the bag in the pantry, and after a few days, Jordan forgot about it. “He’d had his treats,” remembers Dr. McCarthy, “and then he was on to other things.”

If your kids haven’t forgotten about their stash in the pantry, dole out one or two treats at a time, and always in combination with a healthy snack or meal. When the excitement over the candy has waned (and before you start digging into them), throw them away or take them to a homeless shelter.

4

Branch out.

“On Halloween night, don’t think that the only treats are packed with sugar and fat,” suggests Pritikin’s Director of Nutrition, Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD. Trick or treaters clamor for non-food goodies, too. Look in the party aisle of your favorite discount store for treats like glow stick necklaces (your little neighborhood princesses will love you!), spider rings, stickers, decorative pencils, stamps, notepads, erasers, balloons, play tattoos, game cards, and more.

More Halloween Tips

Plan fun activities that don’t revolve around junk food, like pumpkin decorating and costume contests.

Better yet, buy treats that encourage kids to be physically active, like little bouncy balls, Frisbees, jump ropes, hacky sacks, and sidewalk chalk for drawing hopscotch or foursquare games.

5

Channel your inner Martha Stewart.

Set up on your front lawn arts-and-crafts activities like face painting and pumpkin decorating. Who knows? The wee ones may end up liking your home more than anything else on Halloween night.

6

Plan a party that’s focused more on fun and less on food.

“Get the kids (and grownups) up and moving with party activities,” advises Pritikin Fitness Director Scott Danberg, MS. Set up dunking for apples, a costume/dance contest, a pumpkin hunt (hide miniature pumpkins throughout the yard), pinning a heart on a scarecrow, or musical chairs. (Instead of chairs, use big pumpkins.)

And, of course, they never tire of running from the big bad boogie man (you dressed up in a creepy costume) in a game of Halloween hide and seek. Lots of calories burned. Lots of fun!

7

Stock up on sweet and nutritious.

The rest of the year, continue to think outside the candy aisle for treats that are sweet and nutritious. Instead of gummy fruit snacks (the name sounds healthy but they’re really just candy packed with sugar), make popcorn trail mix for the kids. Fill a bowl with low-fat, microwave popcorn and add nuts and dried fruit – only, of course, the fruit varieties your kids like. Let them experiment beforehand. Nowadays, there are so many lip-smacking flavors to choose from, like kiwis, apple slices, mango slices, cranraisins, cherries, and blueberries.

Make Fruit Fun This Halloween

Get creative and make fruit fun. These scary monster teeth are made from apples and pumplin seeds.

8

Make fruit fun.

When you can, make fruit fun. How about a Fruit Parfait? In a pretty parfait glass, simply layer your child’s favorite fruit with fat-free or low-fat vanilla yogurt. Then top with a strawberry.

Or surprise them with Grape Freezes. Wash seedless grapes and pat dry. Place them in the freezer and chill until hard. Toss them in little airtight containers. As a snack, they’re cold, sweet, and crunchy, just like a Popsicle. For school, just put one of the containers in your child’s lunch box right before he or she walks out the door. Come lunchtime, they’ll be thawed, but probably still nice and cold.

9

Lighten your load.

Stock up on fruit cups packed in 100% fruit juice or water with easy-to-open lids. That way, when you’re out of fresh fruit, you aren’t feeling guilty or charging out the door for yet another shopping trip. Good brand choices include Dole, Nutradiet, Del Monte, Wyman’s, Native Forest, and many store brands.

10

Make healthy Halloween treats together.

Every summer in the Pritikin Family Program, kids love the hands-on cooking classes and, afterwards, eating their own creations. Set up shop in your own kitchen, and with the kids as sous chefs, create healthy tasty food at Halloween and year-round, like Pritikin Chef Anthony’s Corn Bread.

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