While you may be on your own to make it past the hordes of candy-seeking adolescents ready to strike you down with their plastic costume axes, if it’s advice you seek on making it past All Hallows Eve unscathed by saturated fats and excess sugar, read on!
First, let’s address the usual suspects and their average amount of damage so we get to know our enemies:
5 pieces of mini individually wrapped Hershey’s (you know the culprit, he usually assumes the form of a baby Snickers, Milky Way, or if you’re really lucky a Kit Kat bar)
210 calories; 22g sugar; 7g saturated fat.
2 cups of cinnamon kettle corn: 155 calories; 7g sugar; 1.5g saturated fat; 450g sodium.
1 caramel apple: 300-650 calories; 32g sugar.
Now, what kind of festive person would I be if I told you to avoid these must-have Halloween favorites altogether? As always, moderation is key. So while indulging in one of these items every once in awhile during the season is OK, the trick is to be aware of what they contain as “a handful of this and a piece of that” can quickly add up to an entire meal’s worth of calories, fat, and sugar.
Now that we know what we’re facing, a few healthy Halloween treat alternatives below:
1. Kettle corn: Wait, what, didn’t we just see this up there on the snack graveyard list? Yes. You can, in fact, read don’t panic. Kettle corn or popcorn is actually a great choice for a “naughty” snack. A few cups are low in calorie, low in fat, and typically low in sodium if you don’t load up on the salt. For flavoring put natural add-ons like cinnamon, nutmeg, or a small drizzle of caramel for something sweet instead of going for the hard caramel or chocolate which dries over the entire batch.
2. Ghoul-ash. Having a spooky themed party and need a main squeeze? I won’t play matchmaker (get your own dates) but this is a fun way to make an entrée with an apt name. The Hungarian classic is really just a stew and can be made with seasonal ingredients like pumpkin, squash, leftover turkey meat, and cranberries and is great for cold October (or November) nights. The pumpkin provides a whopping dose of fiber and can help lower LDL levels. For a fun flare simmer in some apple cider for an extra Fall flavor but watch the heavy hand, this will be high in sugar.
3. Caramel Apple Alternative:
Warm baked apples in the oven (use granny smith for the same tart taste) and dust with cinnamon.
4. Pumpkin Puree Popcorn Balls
Use low fat popcorn (or a popped rice) pumpkin puree, cinnamon, a few mini marshmallows, and some pecans and put these balls into cupcake cups then bake! (Leave out marshmallows for clean eating). The pecans here offer a high dose of manganese, which helps with brain function, and contain 3g of protein per ounce and a healthy dose of fiber as well.