Halloween is nearly upon us and the shelves are stocked with tricks and treats everywhere we turn.
No need to shriek in fear of sugary treats or screech in terror at long lists of ingredients! There are plenty of ways to enjoy treats in healthy ways and create festive goodies at home. However, with the plethora of candy many trick-or-treaters receive, it can be difficult to monitor how much and what your child may be eating.
According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend close to $2.08 billion on Halloween candy this year. The average trick or treater could receive hundreds of pieces of candy containing thousands of calories, as well as sugar, additives, dyes and other mystery ingredients.
Swap out those scary snacks for some healthy goodies. Here are some helpful hints and tips for this year’s Halloween adventures!
- Eat before you trick-or-treat! If kids are hungry while they are running from doorstep to doorstep, they will want to dig into their sugary candy en route. Eat a protein-rich meal or snack before you head out.
- When you arrive home with your candy, allow your child to eat a few pieces and then divide the candy into what they like and don’t like. When their pile of candy is whittled down, devise a system to enjoy the candy in moderation over a period of time.
- Offer a special gift or prize in exchange for this year’s loot! A child can trade you all of their candy (they can keep a few pieces if they’d like) for a special treat and you can donate the candy to your office or place of work.
- Don’t worry about waste! You can send leftover candy to the troops via Operation Gratitude or call local nursing homes, food pantries, women’s shelters or a children’s hospital. If you’re feeling brainy, you can turn your remaining sugary treats into a science experiment!
- When handing out treats to “boys and ghouls” at your home, go for some healthier options. Try whole grain granola bars, whole wheat mini pretzels or real fruit snacks. Figamajigs offer tasty fig and chocolate bars and KIND bars are packed with yummy grains and fiber.
- Think you can spot which Halloween candy is the better option? Take this quiz to find out!
When it comes to sweet treats, making them in our own kitchens is the healthiest way to go. This way, we can control what goes into them and avoid additives and preservatives. You can even try making your own version of Halloween candy!
Twix candy bars contain over 25 ingredients, many of which are very difficult to pronounce and are not healthy for us. Try making “Twix” bars in your own kitchen! This recipe from Food52 makes 18 candy bars, each with just a handful of ingredients.
Homemade Twix Candy Bars
· ¾ cups butter, room temperature
· ½ cup powdered sugar
· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
· ¼ teaspoon salt
· 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 9-inch pan and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt until the mixture looks like a coarse sand. Mix in the flour until the dough comes together.
3. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until the surface of the shortbread looks completely dry. Cool in pan for 15 minutes.
· 10 ounces soft caramels (or caramel bits)
· 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the caramel candies until completely melted and smooth, about 1-1 1/2 minutes. Using an offset spatula, spread the caramel evenly over the shortbread layer. Allow to cool for 15 minutes to set.
2. Turn out shortbread onto a cutting board and cut into 9 1-inch wide pieces. Then, in turn, cut those pieces in half, creating 18 1-inch wide and 4 1/2-inch long candy bars.
3. In another microwave safe bowl, melt the chopped chocolate for 15 seconds at a time, stirring between each interval, until smooth. Dip each candy bar into the chocolate, remove any excess chocolate, and set on wax paper to set completely (about 1 hour). Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Feel free to experiment and make other yummy treats to give to friends at a Halloween party or to share at school. See some ideas below and visit our Red Rabbit Pinterest boards for some other inspiration!
- Local NY apples drizzled in chocolate
- Homemade air popped popcorn
- Yogurt dipped pretzels
There are lots of tricky treats out there and making educated choices about our snacks is very important during this festive fall season. We hope you’ll try your hand at making a few of your own treats this year.