By: Kai Nunziato-Cruz
I don’t know about you but I love the holidays. Although Halloween is not my favorite holiday, Christmas is of course, Halloween to me is the start of the holiday season and my absolute favorite time of year. Not necessarily because of the sweet treats, don’t get me wrong those are great but I love the decorating and the celebrations that come along with the holidays. I always struggle with what to be for Halloween. This year I am really big into skateboarding so I decided to be Bart Simpson so I can ride my skateboard around the neighborhood. My Mom’s who are a doctor and a holistic nutritionist try their hardest to make the holidays as fun and as healthy as possible. This can be tough at times with so many sugar-loaded foods being thrown our way.
Below are some tips for a having a sweet but healthy Halloween.
- Have a Plan – my sisters and I know before even heading out the door that on Halloween night we are allowed to pick 5 candies to eat before the night is over. When we get home, our most favorite project is to sort the candy we collected and trade with each other for our favorites. Then we get to pick our 5 favorites and dig in. We also pick 14 more candies, one for each day for the next two weeks. The rest of the candies get put into a big bag and hidden away for safe keeping. We use most of that candy at Christmas time to decorate our gingerbread houses. There have been years where we’ve donated that candy to our troops which I think is really cool!
- Don’t Be Greedy – at each house only take one candy not a handful, otherwise it’s going to go to waste. Also, choose the small bite size candies instead of the full bars, this will make for better choices later.
- Walk the Neighborhood – we always walk the neighborhood instead of drive, this gets our body moving. Like I said, this year I’m going to skate it so I’m going to have to wear my helmet as well. I expect to get a lot more exercise this year than usual. We make it a fun family night with all of us walking the neighborhood including our dog. Getting out and walking is one of the best things you can do for your body.
- Consider Snack Bags – instead of the typical candy options, nice alternatives to hand out to the kids coming to your door this year include things like bags of pretzels, popcorn, healthy chips, animal crackers, or alphabet cookies.
- Candy (Eat This Not That) – as far as candies go, there are some sweat treats that are healthier than others. Here is a short list of the candies you should or shouldn’t consider based on calorie count, fat count and ingredients (giving special attention to candies with the dreaded artificial ingredients).
- Best Candies – Dum Dums, Smarties, Nerds Fun Size, Mini Jelly Belly’s, York Peppermint Pattie’s, Tootsie Rolls, Kit Kat, Crunch Bars and Hershey’s Kisses.
- Worst Candies – Reese’s Minis (Reese’s anything actually), Butterfingers, M&M’s (regular or peanut – tons of artificial colors), 100 Grand, Mike and Ike’s, Starburst, Twizzlers, Baby Ruth, Snickers and Skittles.
- Fun with Fruit – during Halloween my family gets really creative with fruit as a healthy alternative to eating candy. Here are the tricks to freezing it, dipping it and smashing it.
- Freeze It – my sisters and I love freezing fruit and eating it a day or two later once it’s hard as a rock. Fruits we love to freeze include bananas, berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries), grapes and peaches. Once frozen these delicious fruits are little frozen popsicles in your mouth – they are amazing!
- Dip It – the other thing we love to do is dip fruit is melted chocolate. We have a super simple recipe we use with semi-sweet chocolate chips, evaporated milk and coconut oil once warmed and mixed together it makes an amazing chocolate dip. We love dipping bananas, apples, berries, peaches and mangoes in the chocolate. If we get full we can dip the fruit to use up all the chocolate and then store it in the fridge for the next day.
- Smash It – another favorite of mine is mashed up dates and walnuts. One of my favorite sweet treats any time of year (but it’s great at curbing a sweet tooth for Halloween candy) is this mixture of awesomeness and it’s so easy to make. Get a couple handfuls of pitted dates and a couple handfuls of walnuts (or any nut for that matter knowing all the nut allergies out there today). Put them in a blender and blend as much as you can and then take the mixture and smash it into an eight by eight Pyrex dish. Put it in the fridge for a couple hours to cool and then cut out pieces like fudge. This truly is a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth or enjoy a little snack before bedtime (before brushing your teeth of course).
Hope this gave you some ideas on how to have a sweet and healthy Halloween. Remember, as long as you are eating healthy the rest of the time, it’s okay to indulge during the holidays and not feel guilty. Have a fun and safe Halloween, hope you get all the goodies you are looking for!
Kai Nunziato-Cruz is a 12-year-old nutrition expert from Arizona. As the son of Liz Cruz M.D., a board-certified Gastroenterologist, and Tina Nunziato, a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant, Kai has watched his Moms for years help adults get well and stay well with their books, podcast, online home study program and more and felt it was his mission to take those same teachings to kids. Kai is the author of Digest This Now! for Kids a kid-friendly, doctor-approved book about healthy eating and he also teaches through his YouTube show Generation Kai
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