Ghoulish costumes, glowing pumpkins and a plethora of candy can only mean one thing: Halloween has arrived. While this frightful holiday is a fun time for children and adults alike, it can be easy to overdo things thanks to the abundance of sugar. To help keep your sugar intake in check this time of year, be sure to include these five healthy and festive treats in your spooky celebrations.
While Halloween is known for candy-covered apples, why not change things up a bit (and cut some of the sugar in the process). These Apple Monster Bites are made of apple slices and peanut butter (for the mouth), strawberry slices (for the tongue) and slivered almonds (for the teeth). The only added sugar consists of mini marshmallows and chocolate chips for the eyes. While a typical caramel apple has almost 40 grams of sugar, four monster “bites” have only eight grams of sugar and provide some protein and fiber for staying power. Plus, the recipe is so much fun no one at your party will complain.
One of the easiest “recipes” to make is also one of the cutest. To create mandarin pumpkins, simply draw pumpkin faces directly on the mandarin peel with a black marker, which is great if you are handing them out, or you can peel the mandarins and stick a small piece of celery in the middle of each to make the pumpkin stem. Sweet, juicy and easy to peel, two mandarins are only 80 calories and provide fiber for gut health, potassium for heart health and vitamin C for immune health.
Mini treats with no tricks
While fun-size Halloween candies are a smart option compared to larger candy bars, these fun little bites still add up (running about 50 to 100 calories each) and don’t offer anything in the way of nutrition. As an alternative, KIND Minis offer indulgent flavors in 100-calorie-or-less portions. Plus, they offer real food, wholesome ingredients like nuts, whole grains or fruit. Give them out to trick-or-treaters or use them to fill up the candy bowl at work for a better-for-you option.
Bloody Bubble Drinks
In addition to the plethora of candy this time of year, soda is everywhere. To cut back on the added sugars in soda without losing the fun fizz, go for a Bloody Bubble drink made with half sparkling water and half pomegranate juice. While a 12-ounce can of soda has almost 40 grams of added sugar and no nutritional value, pure pomegranate juice boasts polyphenol antioxidants, which are plant compounds that are being actively studied in the areas of athletic performance, memory and cognition, gut health and more. An eight-ounce bottle of pomegranate juice contains the juice of two whole pomegranates -- no added sugar, fillers or preservatives. For extra bubbles, use dry ice in the drinks.
Spooky Grapes Cups
For an easy and nutritious party recipe, serve grapes in a cup with a monster face. To make, simply fill a clear cup or jar with grapes and use large marshmallows with chocolate chips inside to make the eyes, then draw the mouths on the cups with a black marker. Research has shown that grapes of all colors – red, green and black – are a natural source of beneficial components called polyphenols, which help promote antioxidant activity and can influence cell communication that affect important biological processes. A serving of grapes (3/4 cup) contains just 90 calories and provides vitamin K, potassium and vitamin C for good health.