In association with Halloween, it is hard to steer clear of the lure of colorful bags of candy in all forms in the store and get kids to think differently when all the other kids are indulging heavily.
Candy is popular worldwide and mostly made from sugar, artificial flavors, preservatives and food dyes, which provide calories but very little nutrition. In fact, eating it regularly increases the risk of cavities, obesity, spiked blood sugars and high blood pressure.
If you have any health issues or allergies, or if you’re just craving sweets but want to stick to a balanced diet, there are plenty of treats you can indulge in instead of processed candy and candy bars.
Fruit and nuts, nice cream and baked apples are healthy alternatives to consuming tons of the popular candies associated with Halloween fun. In addition, let the kids help! It is fun to celebrate the season and create some awesome traditions and memories while encouraging healthy eating habits.
Here are a few healthy and delicious alternatives to consuming a ton of candy this holiday season.
Trail mix typically combines nuts, seeds, grains, dried fruit, and chocolate, providing you with fiber, protein, and many beneficial plant compounds. However, store-bought options may be loaded with added sugar and preservatives, so it’s best to make your own.
For a healthy, homemade version, mix together:
- 1/3 cup raw cashews (or any raw nuts you love!)
- 1 T dried cranberries or raisins
- 1/2 cup pretzel bows
- 1 tsp each raw pumpkin seeds and raw sunflower seeds
- 1 T mini dark chocolate chips
“Nice cream” refers to fruit-based ice cream, which you can make by blending frozen fruit with optional add-ins — like peanut butter, honey, or coconut milk — and freezing the mix.
Here’s a very simple, basic recipe to get you started:
Strawberry-Banana Nice Cream
- 1 large, peeled, frozen banana
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
Cut the banana into slices and the strawberries into halves and freeze on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, pulse in a food processor until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides when necessary. Makes 1-2 servings.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
You all know I LOVE apples, and apple picking season is coming to a close. If you haven’t gone yet, go now, before it is too late!
Apples are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other plant compounds. One medium-sized apple packs about 17% of the DV for fiber, 9% of the DV for vitamin C, and powerful plant compounds, including polyphenols that may protect against chronic disease.
Studies show that people who eat apples regularly have a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and weight gain.
Here’s an easy recipe you can modify however you like:
- Raw whole apples of a variety you love
- Dried cranberries or raisins
- Raw pumpkin seeds and raw sunflower seeds
- Cashews, walnuts, pecans, almonds
- Brown Sugar
Wash the apples thoroughly. Dry the apples. Leave the skin on and core the apples. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
Mix enough of the dried fruit, nuts and seeds in a bowl in whatever combination you like that suits your taste, add the brown sugar and cinnamon to taste and stir to combine.
Fill the center of each apple with the mixture. Make enough filling for the number of apples you are making.
Experiment and have fun with this!
I specifically did not put measurements here, because everyone’s taste buds vary. You may love cashews but not almonds, so leave those out! See where I am going with this??? Everyone’s apples will be different. How a-mazing!
Don’t overdo the brown sugar. Apples are sweet enough. You are only adding the brown sugar to get a nice gooey caramelly texture to the finished product. Figure about 1 T to one cup of fruit/nut mix. It also depends on the tartness of the apple variety you use.
Again, you will find the right balance for you and your family. This way, you have total control over the added sugars.
Bake at 350 degrees until just soft, not mushy!! Baking time will vary depending on your oven and the variety of apples you use. But it doesn’t take long. Check your apples after about 7 minutes, and keep an eye on them after that.
Serve immediately as-is or with homemade whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Enjoy!
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