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Healthy Halloween?

By Mary Olivar, October 13, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Mary Olivar

Pumpkin Pecan CookiesThis time of year nothing is more frightening to the health conscious parent than sacks full of brightly colored candy in irresistible crinkly wrappers. Letting your child enjoy a treasured and fun tradition while staying committed to keeping them healthy can be a difficult juggle.

For families with food allergies or other health issues, finding this balance is even more important. I’ve heard (and tried) numerous approaches on how to avoid turning children into orange-mouthed sugar zombies — from the “Great Pumpkin” who replaces bags of candy with a desired toy to the “eat-all-you-like-tonight, but-tomorrow-it’s-business-as-usual” approach. Some even see a pile of sweets as a teaching opportunity: “Look for the word ‘hydrogenated’ and let’s put all those in the ‘no’ pile.”

Double Green SmoothieAs a mom who is devoted to celebrating real food, my approach to keeping Halloween (somewhat) healthy reflects this focus on eating well. While my strategy on how to minimize the candy consumption has varied over the years, a joyous Halloween feast filling their bellies with wholesome nutrition prior to trick or treating has become an annual mainstay. Before the children are unleashed upon the neighborhood, I have them sit down for a dinner of some of their favorite nourishing foods. If other friends, ghouls and goblins are invited to join us for the feast as well, the more festive it becomes. This is the perfect time to set the table with decorative pumpkins, autumn crafts and that orange table cloth that doesn’t seem quite right any other time of year.

Bison ChiliHearty, warming comfort foods that make good use of the season’s bounty are some of my favorite ones to feature. Try creamy Butternut Squash Soup, hearty Winter Vegetable Soup, or the crowd-pleasing Bison Chili. And to drink? Get in the spirit of things with some green smoothies — or as you may like to call that night: “Scary Smoothies.” Are you brave enough to try some? Check out the Double Green Smoothie and Get your Greens Smoothie.

Chocolate MousseOne component of the feast that you might not have to worry about — desserts. But if you want to offer some healthy treats, the surprisingly healthy Chocolate Mousse, the seasonally appropriate Pumpkin Pecan Cookies, and the perennial favorite Fresh Take on Apple Pie are all sure fire hits. How do you put a healthy spin on your Halloween?

 

9 Comments

Comments

Jill Davis says ...
Last year, my sister-in-law offered each of her children an option of (1) keeping their halloween candy or (2) selling it to her for $5. Her daughter decided to keep her candy, and her son decided to sell it. I thought it was a great way to give kids a choice!
10/13/2011 1:28:47 PM CDT
crisG says ...
Last year we just gave out glow sticks, kids loved them and it kept them safe on the dark streets. Also, many parents will throw away home baked treats -too many allergy issues. ANd I'd be afraid of getting egged... the older kids tend to have a bad sense of humor n Halloween.
10/13/2011 1:30:39 PM CDT
Sarah says ...
I love the idea of putting a healthy Halloween dinner together. I think I'm going to steal some of these ideas for my own family:-).
10/14/2011 6:49:21 AM CDT
Susan says ...
http://littleladieswholunch.com/post/11270782662/halloween-savory-tricks-sweet-treats
10/14/2011 12:20:22 PM CDT
Deborah Peters says ...
Brilliant idea! This s one of my favorite Holidays myself, so your tidbits here will go far thru the rest of this season. I'm gluten free and also a health coach so ths year is always a challenge with truly finding that balance with fun, sweets and family. :) http://deborahapeters.com Thank you again, Deborah Peters
10/17/2011 3:05:51 PM CDT
Laura says ...
At the end of the night, we had our son pick out 5 pieces that he wanted to keep. The rest got put out on the step for the "Treat fairy" to collect. In return the fairy leaves a note and a small toy!
10/18/2011 1:44:53 PM CDT
Vivian says ...
I agree that it is ok to have candy in moderation, especially for this holiday, but so many people are unaware of proper dental care and that little bit of candy can really hurt their mouths. Chronic tooth decay is the number one childhood illness and it's so preventable! I will be doing the same and trying to raise awareness for the America's Toothfairy organization! http://bit.ly/rj2K08
10/19/2011 6:39:55 AM CDT
Dave Beaulieu says ...
Thanks for these great ideas. I love the season and the food that goes with it. My FAVORITE for kids is Jack-O-Lantern soup http://tiny.cc/3rd1j which is easy to make and kids love it.
10/19/2011 10:19:47 AM CDT
Jennefer says ...
Nice site!
10/25/2011 4:45:41 AM CDT