It’s one thing to wish someone a happy, healthy New Year. But a happy, healthy Halloween? Not with all the added sugars that cause tooth decay and promote metabolic diseases. Not to mention the artificial food colorings that contribute to hyperactivity disorders. But if you’ve got kids—or if you’re a big kid trapped in an adult’s body—thankfully, Veronica the “V” in Chef V has got some tips for celebrating a Halloween, complete with SCARY fruit.
If you’ve been reading my blog over the years, you know I abide by this golden rule of nutrition: eat healthy (meaning whole, unprocessed food) at least 80% of the time. Personally, I’m not perfect when it comes to eating like a saint. Thanks to occasional overpowering cravings for french fries, I do confess to being a food sinner maybe 5-10% of the time.
So I understand that on Halloween, it can be tempting to let your hair down and indulge. What’s the harm in a few mini-size candy bars? The problem is, where does it end? Can you really limit yourself to just one or two bite-size treats?
If so, then get your trick-or-treat on. But maybe you’re somebody who needs to have not only their Halloween cake so to speak but their cake pops, bat-shaped and witch-finger cookies and spiced apple cider. (Depending on the brand or how it’s made, spiced apple cider can have more sugar than soda!)
If that’s you, I have some healthy Halloween suggestions…
Balance It Out
So if you are planning on going to a Halloween party and indulging a little bit, do what I do. Anytime I know that I’ll be faced with a food kryptonite, powerless to just say no, I make sure that I feast on healthy things earlier in the day. For example, let’s say that I’m going to a holiday party at night, then for lunch I’ll have a huge salad and maybe an extra serving of Green Drink before I leave.
Eating more veggies (and drinking them) will help alkalize your system, which will help neutralize the effects of the highly-processed food.
If you do a Google search for healthy Halloween snacks, you could get tricked. Excuse the pun. You see, what I mean by that is that something that always comes up is little boxes of raisins. Are raisins healthier than candy bars? For sure they are. But just one small box contains 25 grams of sugar.
So what are better alternatives?
Get creative and make your own healthy treats. Like these haunted bananas and pumpkin-lookalike tangerines.
Or how about carving spooky apple slices?
You can also bake gluten-free, stevia-sweetened pumpkin muffins or offer cinnamon sticks, wild honey sticks and baked pumpkin seeds.
But if you don’t have the time or skills to make these healthy treats, then just fill your jack-o-lantern with whole foods that most kids love, including:
- 100% fruit roll ups
- Low-sugar juice boxes (Honest brand)
Make Pumpkins Healthy Again
One of the healthiest treats you can give or eat is the symbolic image of Halloween: pumpkins. One of the healthiest fruits (yes, pumpkins are technically a fruit), pumpkins have an extremely low glycemic load (3), meaning that it will hardly raise your blood sugar levels.
Plus, pumpkins are packed with carotenoids, which is a type of antioxidant. Carotenoids are one of the most important anti-aging phytonutrients. You’ve probably heard of some specific carotenoids that pumpkin contains, including beta-carotene. There’s also the vision- and eye-health supporting carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.
Speaking of beta-carotene, it’s the precursor of Vitamin A and get this, one cup of canned pumpkin contains nearly 800% of the daily recommended value of vitamin A. In addition, pumpkin is rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and several other vitamins and minerals. And one more fun fact about pumpkins is that they are super high in fiber, which helps things move along if you have constipation.
So consider making a pureed (canned; with BPA-free lining) pumpkin treat for Halloween. To sweeten it without sugar, consider using monk fruit extract or stevia.
And finally, don’t forget to indulge in pumpkin seeds (pepitas), which are also super healthy.
Have a happy, healthy Halloween!