Oh, the sweet treats that come from trick-or-treating, school parties and neighborhood gatherings on Halloween! Halloween actually is a great opportunity for kids to learn about moderation of tasty treats and that it’s okay to indulge in a few treats on Halloween. That is part of the fun. It’s our day-to-day, overall eating habits have the biggest impact on our health.
Here are tips and tricks to keep your Halloween sweet, but not too sweet:
• Eat a meal before trick-or-treating. Fill the family up with a meal or snack before heading out the door for trick-or-treating so they are less likely to raid their candy bags before getting home. Once they get home, the Green Monster Smoothie recipe below is a better-for-you sweet treat to offer before digging into treat bags.
• At get-togethers, offer non-candy treats such as fruit leather, trail mix, sugar-free gum, coins, pencils, stickers, glow sticks or even rubber spiders and worms. The Skeleton and Brain Dip recipe below is a fun way to encourage vegetables. Kids won’t be able to stay away from the skeleton — soon they’ll be fighting over who gets the sugar snap pea ribs and the carrot leg bones!
• Talk about how your family will use up the rest of the treats. When you do eat treats, try to include them as part of a meal rather than snack on them between meals. Agree on an amount of treats to enjoy and decide how long to keep the treats around.
Skeleton and Brain Dip
1 cup ranch dressing
2 cups assorted cut-up fresh vegetables, such as bell pepper strips, cucumber slices, sugar snap peas, mushroom slices, celery sticks, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, broccoli florets and cauliflower florets.
Line a small bowl with lettuce leaves; fill with dressing. Place near one end of a large platter.
Arrange vegetables in a skeleton shape on platter, using the bowl as the head of the skeleton.
Green Monster Smoothie
1 cup kale, leaves only
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 cup pineapple juice
1 frozen ripe banana
1 container Hy-Vee Light vanilla yogurt
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Process on high speed until smooth.
Recipe source: Kimberly Proctor, RD, LD, Hy-Vee dietitian
Serves 2. Nutrition facts per serving: 210 calories, 7.5 g fat, 40 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 21 g sugars, 4 g protein.