Healthy Up Your Halloween Party WHILE Keeping the Candy.

HALLOWEEN.

It’s coming and I could not be more excited. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I love the scary movies, fall weather, haunted houses, costume parties, and oh yeah…the candy. I really do love those tiny candy bars and I think they create great memories for a lot of kids. I used to organize my Halloween candy by type, packaging color, and my taste preference. It was a well-thought-out process. No wonder I became my own boss down the road. 

So yes, I’m a dietitian that says Halloween candy is 100% okay. What I don’t like is our overconsumption of the candy. Think about how long those leftovers sit in the office. And how quickly calories add up from just 2 tiny pieces (easily over 300 calories…eek). Or the kid’s that got SO excited for the Halloween party or trick-or-treating that they skip dinner…then snack on oodles of sugary deliciousness. 

But it’s just not candy’s fault either…how many times have you been to a party where the dinner is pepperoni pizza, breadsticks, and soda. I sure have, every Halloween party EVER for the past 20 years of my life. I’d certainly feel a lot better about having a few pieces of candy if I had something nutritious I filled up on earlier. 

Plus, did you know kids (and adults) are more likely to eat something if it looks appealing. Kids are naturally drawn to colors, cartoon characters, and fun shapes. Think about it. Most “kid’s foods” have either one or all of these elements. Could you imagine if healthier foods were marketed the same way? Would there be fewer health problems in younger adults? It’s possible. All I know is that just making healthier foods a little more appealing and fun to younger generations is a GREAT way to increase fruits and vegetables. 

So here’s what I propose:

  • Let’s bring more healthy options to the party. But make them festive. Think about adding in more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. 
  • Have the little trick-or-treaters eat a healthy dinner before going out. 
  • Limit candy to 1-2 pieces as a treat per day. 

Now, here are some healthier YET festive foods for your Halloween party. 

Bat Chips with Fresh Berries

Makes approximately 16 bat chips

Ingredients:

8 whole wheat taco size tortillas

non-stick spray

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 cup finely chopped berries (can use strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, or a variety)

2 teaspoons honey

2 teaspoons lime juice

2 teaspoons lime zest

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a bat-shaped cookie cutter, cut bat shapes and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and crisp.

Mix together chopped berries, honey, lime juice, and zest and set aside. Combine sugar and cinnamon on a plate.  

When bat chips have finished baking. Spray both sides will non-stick spray and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve bat chips immediately with berries.

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Graveyard Taco Dip

Serves 10-15 people

Ingredients:

1 large whole wheat tortilla

food safe pen or black icing  

30-32 ounces refried beans (divided)

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon cayenne powder

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 cup guacamole

1 cup Pico de Gallo

½ cup chopped green onions (green parts only)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using kitchen scissors, cut tortilla into “tombstone” shapes. Place on baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until crisp.

In an 8×8 pan, use half of the refried beans as the bottom layer. Next, add sour cream and sprinkle chili powder, cayenne powder, and cumin on top of the yogurt, next add guacamole, then Pico de Gallo. Finish with the remaining refried beans then scatter green onions on top.

Place your crispy tortilla tombstones in the top of the dip. You can decorate the tombstones with either an edible food marker or by using black icing.

Serve immediately, refrigerate any extra dip for 1-2 days. Serve with additional tortilla chips or vegetables.  

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Devil-ed Eggs

Makes 24 egg halves

Ingredients:

12 large eggs

1/3 cup Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon sriracha or other hot sauce

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

red pepper flakes to garnish

paprika to garnish 

cayenne pepper to garnish 

48 red pepper julienne cuts, turned into horns  

Preparation:

Bring a pot of water to a boil and carefully place eggs in the pot. Boil for 30 seconds then reduce the heat to a simmer, cook for 11 minutes. Remove eggs from water and move to an ice bath for 1-2 minutes. Peel eggs under cold running water.

Slice eggs in half and carefully scoop out the yolks into a separate bowl. Mix with Greek yogurt, hot sauce, mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Once well combined, either spoon or pipe into egg whites. Top with red pepper flakes, cayenne, and paprika and place 2 red pepper “horns” in each egg half.

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