Halloween is a treat-filled holiday tradition that kicks-off the fall season. Staying healthy and avoiding food allergens shouldn't put a damper on the fun though. Try these 14 Halloween treat swaps to keep the holiday enjoyable and healthy!
Instead of sugary punch or sodas, say yes to water. If you want, zero-calorie sparking water or infused water is a great option. Nix the extra sugar while maintaining flavor by simply cutting up some fruits and fresh herbs to infuse a pitcher of water. Try cucumbers, mint, basil, melons, berries, or citrus. A pitcher full of orange slices in water looks festive, tastes delicious, and ditches a lot of the sugar.
Always go for the dark chocolate option. Whether baking some treats or buying them, look for dark chocolate over milk or white. Choosing dark chocolate avoids unnecessary added sugar and adds healthy phytonutrients.
Say no to candy bars and yes to granola bars. The granola bar is the dessert bar of the healthy diet. It already contains nature’s candy: dried fruits. The advantage is that granola bars also add in healthy fiber and protein for a more balanced sweet treat.
Instead of candied or caramel apples, go for apples with peanut butter. Apples are an iconic fall treat, but you don’t have to add sugar to the sugar. Instead, enjoy apples with peanut butter to add more protein to the treat.
Homemade Peanut Butter Cups
Get crafty in the kitchen and swap out store-bought peanut butter cups with homemade ones. You will have greater knowledge and control over the quality of your ingredients, and therefore avoid any fillers, oils, or unnecessary sugars. Remember to opt for dark chocolate!
Homemade Chocolate Mint Drinks
Mint and chocolate is a classic combination. Replace sugary mint chocolate treats with homemade minty hot chocolate or chocolate mint-infused water. Yes, chocolate mint exists! Like spearmint or peppermint, chocolate mint is its own plant. Simply pick, wash, and add to water for a delicious treat that contains zero sugar, but still gets you that classic mint chocolate flavor combination. Like with those homemade peanut butter cups, making homemade hot chocolate means you get to use dark chocolate, control how much sweetener you use, and choose your sweetener of choice (if you use one at all). Make it minty by adding fresh mint or using some mint extract.
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Replace the candy corn with air-popped or homemade popcorn. Avoid the microwave popcorn because of its long ingredient list, but do swap out the candy for the healthier, real thing. Try making your own with coconut oil for a healthy Halloween treat.
In place of anything, try clementines, tangerines, tangelos, and other citrus fruits. Dress them up with scary faces or fun lines to that make them look like festive jack-o-lanterns. These fruits hit all the marks: delicious, healthy, and iconic. Take a snack you already love and make it fit for Halloween, and you can stay healthy through the holiday.
Fruit and Veggie Chips
For a sweeter chip alternative, try fruit chips. Although they can still be high in sugar, banana or apple chips are a healthier alternative to candy bars or potato chips. To keep it savory and crunchy, and pack on more nutrition, opt for dried vegetables like snap peas, green beans, or other veggie sticks.
Dried fruits are a great alternative to gummy candies. Instead of eating gelled sugar rolled in more sugar and food dyes, eat the natural version. Be aware that dried fruits still pack on the sugar, but at least this swap avoids food dyes, unnatural flavors, and added sugar, while still maintaining a nice texture and taste.
Replace tiny candies that are easy to eat by the handful with small homemade energy bites. Similar to a granola bar swap, this healthier option still contains sugar, but adds on protein and fiber. Take your favorite recipe and make the balls smaller, which will make them feel more like eating candies while avoiding a sugar-only treat.
Another tiny candy alternative is frozen grapes. This healthy Halloween treat swap is almost too easy to make. Take grapes and put them in the freezer -done. They are like mini ice pops that are as enjoyable as candies, but far healthier.
Swap out pizza or pre-made pizza appetizers for zucchini slices topped with sauce, cheese, and black olives. See where this is going? You can make fun gory pizza eyeballs! Fun for children and the kid in all of us, this swap avoids extra salt, is low-carb friendly, and doesn’t take long to make either.
While pretzels are often celebrated as a healthier alternative to candy, an even better choice is fresh veggie sticks. Fresh whole vegetables are a colorful addition that add vitamins and nutrients while still being delicious. Serve carrot or celery sticks with hummus or peanut butter instead of caramel to double down on this healthy Halloween swap.
By now you might have picked up on the running theme: avoid the sugar. Swap out sugary treats for the healthier alternatives suggested here. Or, avoid the edible treats altogether. Stickers, erasers, pencils and crayons, stamps, and games can all contribute to Halloween fun. They are also a great way to be allergy-conscious and make sure that treats are safe for everyone to enjoy.