by Shelly Xu, Poppy Life Care Nutritional Program Manager
Halloween is usually a fun day full of costumes, imagination and, of course, tons of candy. The COVID-19 pandemic may mean Halloween will look very different this year; however, there are still some low-risk ways to make your at-home party fun and healthy!
Keep in mind that Halloween is just one day a year, and it’s what kids eat every day that has the most impact on their nutrition and health. Instead of making candy and sweet treats off limits, serve healthy snacks first, and bring out the sweet treats later when the kids have already filled up on more nutritious foods. One idea is to choose beta carotene-rich “orange” foods for the healthy options, such as roasted carrots and butternut squash, or baked sweet potato fries. Try adding green guacamole “slime” for a dose of heart-healthy unsaturated fat.
For a heartier choice, try black and orange tortilla roll-ups made by layering lean roast beef and low-fat provolone or mozzarella cheese on a sun-dried tomato tortilla.
For those special sweet treats, provide small portions. Choose bite-sized instead of full-size candies, miniature cupcakes or muffins, and smaller cookies and brownies. To easily regulate how many servings each child eats, serve each child rather than leaving treats out on a table.
Make Your Own Healthier Treats
Make your own treats that have some nutritional value by including a source of fruits, vegetables, nuts or whole grains. Try air-popped popcorn tossed with cinnamon, or dark chocolate-covered fresh fruit like strawberries or apple slices. Go for pumpkin treats, such as fiber-packed cinnamon-roasted pumpkin seeds or vitamin A-rich pumpkin mini muffins.
Consider these healthy, Halloween-themed snack ideas:
- Warm apple cider with cinnamon sticks
- Smoothies made with low-fat vanilla yogurt and canned pumpkin
- Apple slices with a fruit dip made with mixture of plain yogurt, canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice
- Date and pumpkin energy balls
- Pumpkin pie dip made with low-fat cream cheese, plain or vanilla Greek yogurt, roasted pumpkin and spices
- Dark Chocolate chip pumpkin bars made with whole wheat flour
Get Everyone Up and Moving
Make sure that the party isn’t all about the food. Plan fun activities and games to get the kids moving, such as a costume parade or play games. Try “Monster Tag” — one child is the monster and whomever he or she tags turns into a zombie. Need some spooky-themed music? Visit our Spotify playlist page to download some tunes!
Make this Halloween an opportunity to teach your child to enjoy special treats, in moderation, as part of an overall healthy diet. Sign up for our Eat Well, Be Well newsletter to receive nutrition-related information, tips and exclusive recipes.