Hello, Spooky Season Enthusiasts!
October is here, and you know what that means: pumpkins, costumes, and lots of treats! But wait, should treats only mean sugar-laden candies and chocolates? This Halloween, let’s aim for treats that aren’t tricks on our health.
Why Should We Care?
Halloween may come just once a year, but its impact on our health can last far longer. Traditional treats are high in sugar, contributing to obesity and dental issues. According to the CDC, childhood obesity has tripled since the 1970s. Sugar-filled treats can contribute to this crisis.
The Nutritious Tricks for Your Treats
1. Fruit-Based Goodies
Instead of candy, how about fruit pops? You can decorate ghost-shaped banana pops or apple slices to look like monsters. Fruits offer vitamins and fibers and are far less in sugar than candies.
2. Nut & Seed Mixes
Mix it up with some almonds, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries. Maybe even throw in a few dark chocolate chips for good measure. Nuts and seeds are high in good fats and protein.
3. Dark Chocolate
Choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate. The darker, the better! Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants like flavonoids.
Making Treats Safe
Now, let’s talk about safety, especially for those with allergies, as essential as the treats themselves. Always label your goodies if they contain common allergens like nuts, dairy, or gluten, as food allergies can affect up to 8% of children. Make sure all your ingredients are fresh and stored correctly to minimize the risk of spoilage. Additionally, for snacks like nut and seed mixes, consider portioning them into small bags or cups to aid in controlling calorie intake. By taking these safety steps, we can make Halloween a fun and healthy holiday for everyone.
Apple Monster Mouths Recipe is a fun and easy way to celebrate Halloween!
2 large red or green apples
4 small bananas slices or blueberries
1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter (for a nut-free option, you can use sunflower seed butter)
Mini marshmallows – Pumpkin Seeds
Strawberry or grape slices (optional, for added “tongue” detail)
4 tooth sticks
Wash and dry the apples.
Cut the apples into quarters, and then remove the cores.
Cut a small wedge from the skin side of each apple quarter to create a mouth shape.
Fill the Mouths:
Spread peanut butter (or your choice of butter) inside the cut wedge in each apple quarter. Make sure it’s spread thick enough to hold the marshmallows in place.
Add the Teeth:
Insert mini marshmallows or for a healthier option use pumpkin seeds into the peanut butter to serve as teeth. You can use as many as can fit, and you can even cut them in half to make smaller teeth.
If you want to add more detail, you can place a slice of strawberry or grape inside the mouth to act as a tongue. Just tuck it behind the “teeth.”
Create the Eyes:
Take two banana slices or blueberries for each apple monster mouth you’re making.
Attach the Eyes:
Stick a toothpick halfway into each grape or blueberry, then insert the other end of the toothpick into the apple above the “mouth” area. This will give the appearance of eyes hovering above the mouth.
Place the Apple Monster Mouths on a plate, perhaps with other fruits or Halloween decorations to serve. Enjoy your crafting and snacking!
Written by Irisvette Lagoa and Elizabeth C. Shephard
- CDC. (2022, August 23). Obesity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/obesity/index.htmCDC – Childhood Obesity Facts
- Elghoudi, A., & Narchi, H. (2022). Food allergy in children–the current status and the way forward. World journal of clinical pediatrics, 11(3), 253–269. https://doi.org/10.5409/wjcp.v11.i3.253
- FDA. (2022, February 17). Food safety in your kitchen. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/food/buy-store-serve-safe-food/food-safety-your-kitchen
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (2021, March 3). Vegetables and fruits. The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vegetables-and-fruits/
- Katz, D. L., Doughty, K., & Ali, A. (2011). Cocoa and chocolate in human health and disease. Antioxidants & redox signaling, 15(10), 2779–2811. https://doi.org/10.1089/ars.2010.3697
- Ros E. (2010). Health benefits of nut consumption. Nutrients, 2(7), 652–682. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu2070652
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