No Tricks: Healthy Foods for Halloween

No Tricks: Healthy Foods for Halloween

Banning candy not an option? Tempt your kids with these healthy black and orange meals and snacks to sneak in some nutrition.

By Jane Schwartz, RD, Staff Nutritionist, myOptumHealth

Many parents give up on their nutrition principles when Halloween rolls around. Who wants to be the one to hand out apple slices when the kids are expecting chewy chocolates?

While there's no sense in trying to ban the candy, perhaps you can "trick" your kids this Halloween and sneak a bit of healthy food back into the "treat."

Following are some healthy food and drink ideas for Halloween. All of them are black and orange to up the "cool" quotient. Serve them before your children go out trick-or-treating. It will leave your precious goblins (and you) with a little less room to indulge in "the bad stuff."

Mischief Night tricks

  • Make an orange, raisin, and mango fruit salad.
  • Cook up a pot of organic cheddar macaroni and cheese. Serve with black bean chips on the side.
  • Saute carrots with canned black beans for a healthy high-fiber side dish.
  • Make sweet potato fries. Slice peeled sweet potatoes and place on a greased (with cooking spray) baking sheet. Lightly spray potatoes with cooking spray and sprinkle on salt and paprika. Bake at 500 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping the fries over halfway through.
  • Mix together four cooked and mashed sweet potatoes with an 8-oz. can of crushed pineapple. Bake at 350 degrees F until heated through. Sprinkle mini-marshmallows on top and bake another 5 to 10 minutes, until toasted.

Happy Halloween snacks

  • Put out raw carrots and a low-fat dip. For the dip, blend 1 percent cottage cheese and low-fat sour cream with garlic, onion powder, and a pinch of dill or curry.
  • Add low-fat cream cheese to the tip of a mini carrot and top with a black raisin or half of a pitted olive.
  • Make a mango and black bean salsa. Mix together one can of rinsed black beans, 2 to 3 tablespoons of lime juice, one diced mango, 1/3 cup of diced red onion, and a minced jalapeno pepper. Serve with black bean tortilla chips.
  • Slice up sweet orange peppers and serve with a low-fat dip or the above mango salsa.
  • Put out a bowl of roasted pumpkin seeds mixed with raisins and dried apricots.
  • Melt low-fat shredded cheddar cheese over black bean tortilla chips. Top with black olives.
  • Make a party platter with chunks of low-fat cheddar cheese, black olives, natural cheddar crackers, sliced mango, sliced orange pepper, and black bean tortilla chips.
  • Bake canned (or fresh) pumpkin into a delicious quick bread, muffin (see recipe below), or cookie. Add raisins.

Devilish drinks

  • Orange party punch: combine 6 cups unsweetened chilled pineapple juice, 3 cups cold water, and one 6-oz. can of frozen lemonade concentrate. Pour natural cranberry juice into an ice cube tray and freeze to make red ice cubes. To serve, toss red ice cubes and one thinly sliced orange into the punch.
  • Make an orange-banana smoothie by blending orange juice together with natural peach yogurt and a frozen banana.

Pumpkin Muffins

Serve these light and delicious muffins instead of cupcakes.

Makes 12

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
4 T cold trans-fat-free margarine, or butter, cut into bits
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup whipped cream cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine whole-wheat pastry flour, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Blend in the margarine until the mixture is crumbly.

Add the raisins, milk, pumpkin, and egg, stirring until just moist. Spoon batter into 12 greased muffin cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Remove pan and put on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before removing the muffins. When cooled, spread each muffin with a teaspoon of whipped cream cheese.


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