Halloween Party Treats: Healthy and fun alternatives to sweets

2013-10-21T10:00:00Z 2013-10-22T16:57:07Z Halloween Party Treats: Healthy and fun alternatives to sweetsBarb Ruess Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
October 21, 2013 10:00 am  • 

I will never forget the first time my oldest had a school Halloween party. It was held on the day of Halloween and I signed up to help at the party. I showed up with a bowl of grapes and placed a sign next to it that said “Zombie Eyeballs.” It looked awfully lonely on the table next to the caramel apples, bowls of candy, rice krispie treats and cookies. The next table over was overflowing with treat bags filled to the brim with candy brought from some of the kids in class. My daughter hadn’t even gone trick-or-treating and we had enough candy and desserts to feed an army of children!

I’m not a Halloween scrooge. I like fun-size snickers as much as the next person (perhaps even more), but it does seem like the sugar has gotten out of hand at school parties and Halloween get-togethers. I know I’m not the only one who greets this holiday with a slight dread of future dentist bills and sugar crashes. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of healthy Halloween treats that are fun, fresh and satisfying.

Fun (and healthy) Halloween Treats

You don’t have to be a master chef to serve something that fits the Halloween theme and is still healthy. Here are some ideas ranging from “super simple” to “prep the night before.”

Zombie Eyeballs:

A bowl of grapes with a sign that says “zombie eyeballs.”

Jack O’Lantern Veggie tray:

A veggie tray using mostly baby carrots laid out in the shape of a jack-o’lantern.

Halloween Ham & Cheese:

Using small cookie cutters, cut out slices of cheese and deli meat in the shapes of ghosts, pumpkins and bats. You could also do this with sandwiches.

Skeleton hands:

Fill clear, plastic gloves with popcorn. Opt for homemade popcorn over microwave for the healthiest option. Popcorn is a great fiber-filled treat when it’s not loaded up with artificial butter flavoring.

Goblin Grins:

Cut a red-skinned apple into small wedges. Spread a small amount of peanut butter and sandwich two of the wedges together. On the skin side of the apples, stick raisins in the peanut butter for the crooked teeth. Now it looks like the lips and decayed teeth of a goblin! Note: If you make ahead of time, coat any exposed flesh of the apple with a little orange or pineapple juice to keep apple from turning brown.

Boo-nanas:

Peel and cut bananas in half. Add chocolate chips for eyes and a mouth. Serve as-is or frozen. You could also insert a craft stick in the base to make them easy to handle.

Pumpkin Pie Dip:

A creamy dip that’s great as an appetizer or dessert. Since it’s low-fat and loaded with vitamin A, it can be a favorite all year long. As seen in "Appetite for Life" the new cookbook from Stacey Antine, MS, RD, who boasts 40,000 success stories and more than 100 easy, kid-approved recipes.

Ingredients

- 6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, room temperature

- 1/3 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

- 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

- 2 tbs agave nectar

- 2 tbs packed brown sugar

- 2 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

- 1 tsp ground allspice

- 1/4 tsp ground loves

- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

- 1/8 tsp sea salt

In a food processor, combine cream cheese and yogurt; blend until smooth. Add pumpkin and remaining ingredients except fruit and pretzels; blend until well mixed.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to four days. Serve with sliced fruit and/or pretzels.

Makes 32 servings (2 tablespoons per serving)

Nutrition facts per serving: 25 calories; 1.5 g fat (1g sat fat, 0.5g mono, 0g trans fat); 5mg cholesterol; 3g carbohydrate (1g fiber, 2g sugar); 1g protein; 25mg sodium; 45% Daily Value (DV) vitamin A; 2% DV vitamin C; 2% DV calcium; 2% DV iron.

P.S. At that long ago Halloween party, guess whose container was the only one completely emptied? Mine. Those kids gobbled down the grapes. They really do like healthy snack alternatives.

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