Halloween is the first major holiday after fall begins, so it is often a good way to kick off harvest, butternut squash soup, and chili, putting on sweaters and boots and enjoying more family time indoors. However, Halloween isn’t the healthiest holiday. Much of it involves candy and other tasty treats that aren’t the best thing for your body (or your teeth!). Luckily, it is entirely possible to celebrate this fun holiday with family and friends and not add to your waistline.
This report goes over some different ways to have a healthy Halloween. It will discuss avoiding candy temptations, using the holiday to increase your physical fitness, and really focusing on complete wellness.
Healthy Halloween Treats
Let’s start with the different Halloween treats you are going to make. The big problem here is that a lot of treats involve caramel, chocolate, peanut butter, and all sorts of other ingredients that don’t make for the healthiest snacks. It is possible to incorporate some of these yummy elements, but still keep the treats healthy. This is done by making fruit or vegetables as one of your main components. Look at all the different ways you can make delicious Halloween treats by using fruit, vegetables, and some other healthy snacks:
Tangerine pumpkins – The first option is to make some tangerine pumpkins. These actually use only fruit and a little bit of celery. You are going to take tangerines and remove the skin entirely, but keep the tangerine itself intact. Once the skin is removed, simply cut a small piece of celery to put in the top of the tangerine, and you have yourself a little fruit pumpkin.
White chocolate ghosts – These ghosts can be made in two different ways; with strawberries or with bananas. For the bananas, they work best when you purchase small bananas and cut them in half. The end of each banana piece becomes the ‘head’ of the ghost. Make sure you remove the banana peel of course. With strawberries, just rinse them and remove the stem. Take your fruit piece and dip it into the melted white chocolate until it is completely covered. Set it on a piece of parchment paper and use any type of candy decoration for the ghost’s eyes. Wait for the chocolate to harden or put the tray into the fridge to speed up the process.
Pretzel and cheese witch broomsticks – This is a really fun snack to serve at a Halloween party. They are healthy, easy to make, and kid-approved. All you need are long pretzel sticks and Mozzarella string cheese. Cut the string cheese into about 4-5 pieces, then cut into each one so you can flare them out to make the end of the brooms. Press the pretzel stick into the cheese as the broom handle, and you have yourself some witch broomsticks.
Mozzarella fingers – Another snack you can make with mozzarella cheese is a mozzarella finger. Just take a cheese stick and cut it into 2 or 3 pieces, depending on how long you want the fingers to be. Cut a rounded tip as a finger, then cut some shallow lines in it for the knuckles. Cut any fruit you like into fingernails, then press them into the top of the cheese. Honey or peanut butter works well at making it stick.
Candy corn fruit cups – This is one of the healthiest Halloween treats on the list. All you need are small clear cups, orange fruit, yellow fruit, and reduced-fat whipped topping. Put the orange fruit on the bottom, followed by the yellow fruit, followed by the whipped topping. It makes it look like candy corn.
How to Avoid Weight Gain From Halloween Candy
The next challenge you have during Halloween is eating too much candy. Perhaps you like to go through your kids’ candy bags and make sure they don’t eat too much, so you have a few pieces, or you have leftovers from handing out candy. Regardless of how you end up with it, you need to find other ways to use the candy so you aren’t letting it cause weight gain. Here are some simple, yet effective ways to avoid Halloween candy weight gain.
Don’t Buy Your Favorite Candy
This really is one of the best tricks for not eating all of the leftover candy after Halloween is over. If you are left with a bowl of all your favorite chocolate candy bars, you are much more likely to eat it all. Instead, buy candy you know kids like, but that really isn’t your favorite. If you aren’t a fan of nuts, or you can’t stand coconut, then getting some Snickers bars and Almond Joy candy bars are going to be the best options. After handing out candy, you won’t be too tempted to eat treats you don’t care for.
Bring the Leftovers to Work
Immediately after Halloween when you end up with extra candy, bring all of it to work. You can keep a few pieces at home, but the rest needs to get out of the house. When you aren’t thinking about it, you aren’t tempted by it. Your co-workers will certainly love to have some extra boosts of energy with all the sugar, so bring a bowl of candy to work, put it in the break room, and try not to indulge in it when you’re at the office. Bring plenty of healthy snacks to keep you from taking pieces while you are at work.
Let Yourself Have One Piece a Day
There is no reason to completely deprive yourself of everything delicious when you are trying to lose weight or to just avoid gaining any weight. It is okay to let yourself have a little candy treat every day by saving a few of your favorites for yourself. Just limit yourself to where you have 1 or 2 bite-size pieces a day, instead of having a handful every time you go into the kitchen.
Have a Glass of Water First
In many cases, you aren’t as hungry as you think you are, so by having water first, the sugar craving eventually goes away. Before you eat something that isn’t the healthiest option, make yourself drink an entire glass of water. If you still want that treat after the glass of water, let yourself have a small piece. Another option is to simply wait 5-10 minutes, then see if you are still having the craving.
Why Trick-or-Treating is a Healthy Family Activity
Trick-or-treating is often seen as something only kids do in order to get more candy, which might scare you because this means the household has even more sweets. However, it really depends on how you look at it. Trick-or-treating can actually become a good way to get in some fun exercise with the family. While it depends on everyone’s weight and how far you go, trick-or-treating for just an hour can burn about 200 calories when you run a little bit while you are out.
Follow these suggestions for turning trick-or-treating into a healthy family activity:
Jog, run, or skip between houses – Instead of just walking casually from house to house, turn trick-or-treating into a family exercise routine. You can do this by challenging everyone in the family to either jog or run in between houses. You would be amazed by how tiring this gets, which means it is burning calories! Just make sure the kids are wearing comfortable shoes with their costumes and they don’t have long capes or gowns that would cause them to trip. You can also alternate with skipping between houses, which is another great exercise.
Go to the mall and use the stairs – When you don’t want to go trick-or-treating outside, the mall is one of the next best options. It is safe and secure, well-lit, and keeps you out of the elements. When you are going to the mall for some trick-or-treating, make sure you are using the stairs and never the escalator or elevator. Try to go up and down stairs every time you come to a new set until you have hit all of the stores.
Go out for a longer period of time – Instead of just going out for an hour in your neighborhood, consider walking a little further to other safe neighborhoods. If you can trick-or-treat for 2-3 hours, just imagine how many more calories everyone burns.
Turn it into a fitness game – To go one step further, you can make a fitness game out of it. Keep a list of simply workouts you can do in the street, and go down the list doing one workout after every house. After 1 house, you can do squats, or when you reach a house with spiderwebs in the front yard or a pumpkin on the stoop, you need to do lunges. You can also do this when you see certain costumes.
5 Things to do With Pumpkin Seeds
After you have carved your pumpkin, you will be left with a handful of seeds and pulp. Many people will rinse off the seeds and roast them for a healthy snack. This is definitely a great option since the seeds are low in fat and nutritious, but there are also some other ways to use the pumpkin seeds. For example, you can:
Make Your Own Protein Bars
The first thing you can do is use the pumpkin seeds as one of the elements for your own homemade protein bars. You can do these a few different ways. One option is to combine ingredients like blended dried fruits such as cranberries and apricots, with the seeds, granola, and any other ingredients you like. You can also make a chocolate protein bar by adding melted chocolate to a small mold, then adding in the pumpkin seeds and additional ingredients.
Add to Yogurt
Pumpkin seeds are perfect for putting on the top of your yogurt. It will be used just like yogurt, where you take a handful of the seeds and put it on any flavor of yogurt. This allows you to make it healthier and get a little crunch as a treat. They are also good for topping ice cream and frozen yogurt.
Top Soup or Salad
Garnishing your soup, chili or salad with pumpkin seeds is another good idea. This is going to add a little more protein and nutrition to your soup while providing a healthier crunch than what you might get by using croutons or some of the fattier cuts.
Make Your Own Granola
For granola, you can replace other seeds you would typically use and use your roasted pumpkin seeds instead. Granola really doesn’t have one set recipe since it depends on what you prefer. You can add nuts and seeds, dried fruit, pretzel pieces, oats, just about anything. Harvest granola with pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries is perfect for the fall season.
Use Them in Baked Goods
When you are baking items like maple apple muffins, pumpkin cookies, or zucchini bread in the fall, go ahead and add some pumpkin seeds. Use the entire seeds as-is, or chop or grind them up and add them to the batter before you start baking.
Make Pumpkin Seed Brittle
Pumpkin brittle use pumpkin seeds as the primary ingredient. You will want to use raw pumpkin seeds, not ones that have been toasted. Combine them with sugar, water, and sea salt, let them dry, then break it up into pieces as a nutritious and low-fat snack.
How to Make Healthy Candy Apple Treats
Candy apples are a fun treat for Halloween, but they are not the healthiest option. While it does let you and your kids have a juicy apple, it is covered in sugary candy, which brings a 95-calorie green apple to one that is close to 300 calories. Not to mention these aren’t the best thing for your teeth. Here are some healthier options for making candy apple treats:
Apple slices with caramel drizzle – Instead of covering the entire apple with a thick coating of caramel or other sugary candy substance, you can instead cut the apple into slices and simply drizzle it with a caramel sauce. You are going to get the same caramel or candy apple flavor, but a lot less of it is used, so it is considerably healthier.
Caramel green grapes – Another option is to instead take green grapes and turn them into a caramel fruit treat. Heat up your preferred type of caramel so that it can be used for dipping. While that is heating up, rinse your grapes and put short skewers into each one of them. Once the caramel is ready, transfer it to a bowl, then dip the grapes into the caramel, but just cover the tip of the grape. Now sprinkle some chopped nuts or seeds on top and set them on parchment paper until the caramel cools and dries.
Chopped apple salad – A chopped apple salad is perfect for a quick and healthy snack, or a light dessert. You can even have this yummy fruit salad for breakfast. You will start with some chopped green apples in a bowl, then add your choice of nuts, such as peanuts or walnuts. You can then add some chopped pretzel pieces and drizzle caramel over the top.
Baked apples with caramel and pecans – For more of a dessert option, make baked apples. These aren’t just good for Halloween, but any type during the fall. Bake some apples with cinnamon sprinkled on top, allowing you to enjoy the flavor and scent of fall. When they are done baking, sprinkle pecans on top and add your drizzled caramel sauce.
Halloween Soup: Healthy Soups For Halloween Night
For the last section of the Healthy Halloween report, we are going to talk about soup! Soup is an ideal option for any cold evening, but especially for nights like Halloween when you want to enjoy the holiday but also have some comfort food. The problem is that many soups are cream-based, and while delicious, they aren’t the healthiest option. The following soups are healthy, have a lower amount of fat and calories, and contain fall ingredients like pumpkin and squash.
Simple Pumpkin Soup
This recipe comes from Minimalist Baker and is a delicious yet simple pumpkin soup. It is a great soup to have on Halloween since you are going to use pumpkin puree and can even find a use for those pumpkin seeds. You can either use canned pumpkin or roast a pumpkin and make your own puree. It will taste delicious either way. This simple pumpkin soup is made with pureed pumpkin, shallots, garlic, maple syrup, coconut milk, broth, and seasonings.
Find the recipe here: http://minimalistbaker.com/simple-pumpkin-soup/
Butternut Squash Soup
Another fall vegetable that makes a perfect soup is butternut squash. This butternut squash soup is available on FoodNetwork.com and features butternut squash, chicken stock, onion, butter, and nutmeg. As you can see, it is a simple soup with minimal ingredients, but one that will make everyone in your family happy.
Classic Tomato Soup
If you want to have some delicious tomato soup with grilled cheese for Halloween night, this recipe from Fine Cooking is excellent. It allows you to make a classic tomato soup that is rich, creamy, and nutritious. It provides more flavor by using chicken broth instead of just water and includes seasonings like garlic, onion, thyme, chives, and basil.
Find the recipe here: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/meyers-classic-tomato-soup.aspx
Apple and sweet potato soup
To try something a little different, why not have sweet potato and apple soup? This is another delicious, creamy soup that will warm up and fill bellies on Halloween night. This soup is light enough to enjoy before trick-or-treating but is also a good option for after your Halloween festivities. It contains not just potato and apple, but a lot of seasonings and veggies, including onion, thyme, butter, celery, olive oil, vegetable stock, cinnamon, garlic, allspice, and cumin.
With these simple tips and recipes, you are ready for your healthiest Halloween yet.