Halloween: How to Keep the Treats and Your Waistline
Halloween is always full of fun, but when it comes to your waistline, the holiday comes with more than a few challenges. Whether it’s on Halloween itself, or in the days that follow when you have leftover candy, there are tempting high-calorie treats everywhere you look. Here are some ways to avoid packing on the pounds while still getting to “treat.”
On Halloween Day
1. Make a goal or set a limit on how much you will indulge and then stick to it. If you know 3 Musketeers is your favorite candy bar, make it your goal to have just one miniature (or two miniatures—whatever is realistic for you) and then stick to your plan. Even when all of the candy and baked goods are in plain sight, you’ll already have decided what you’ll allow yourself to eat.
2. Have a fun, festive meal before you are around the candy. One of our favorites is our Halloween Pizza. Who doesn’t feel like pizza is a treat? And this one is healthy, while still keeping the party going.
1 pound whole-wheat pizza dough, thawed if frozen
1/2 cup tomato sauce (choose a good no-sodium-added variety, if available)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
4 olives, sliced horizontally so they make round circles
3 slices red bell peppers
3/4 cup spinach
Preheat oven to 450°F. Sprinkle flour on a clean, flat kitchen surface to prevent dough from sticking. Place dough ball in the center and roll out. Sprinkle flour on a large baking sheet to prevent sticking and place the rolled-out dough on it. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the tomato sauce, pumpkin puree and garlic powder, and whisk them together. Spread sauce mixture over baked dough and sprinkle the Parmesan and mozzarella over the top.
If you want to get festive, add olives as you would to make eyes on a face and bell peppers to make the smile, nose and eyebrows. Use spinach to make the hair. Or simply add the veggies as you choose, in any random arrangement. Bake the pizza for another 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven when the cheese is melted and the edges are crisp.
Serve the pizza with a large salad and a side of steamed veggies.
A great way to help deal with leftover candy, which tends to be the hardest part for most adults, is to keep healthier, yet satisfying treats around the house. This will make it easier to pass on the leftover Halloween candy and satisfy your (and any kids) hunger and sugar cravings in a healthier way.
Try any of these substitutions for high calorie, sugar-loaded candy:
Add a smear of fat-free strawberry cream cheese and sliced strawberries on top—or any fruit (grapes, banana or apples all work well).
A perfect healthy snack that can be easily turned into an indulgent treat. Toss a few pieces of dark chocolate into the mix and you have a tasty, low-sugar snack packed with antioxidants and whole grains.
Freeze bananas and drizzle with a tad of melted dark chocolate or cover apples in homemade, low-sugar caramel. These are decadent treats that are lower in sugar and much healthier than your average candy bar.
These feel like the perfect treat!
- You can buy single-serving bags of roasted pumpkin seeds at many grocery stores.
- Or you can make them at home:
- As you carve your pumpkin, don’t discard the seeds. Instead rinse them and use your fingers to remove all the pulp. Then drain the seeds and discard the pulp. Spread the seeds out on a cookie sheet to dry overnight or use a paper towel to dry them completely. Before cooking, simply pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees and spray the cooking sheet with oil. Spray your seeds with oil and sprinkle with any of your favorite seasonings—try garlic powder, cayenne pepper or cracked pepper.
- Use several teaspoons of grated Parmesan, you won’t need salt! Bake seeds for about one hour, being sure to toss them about every 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Cool pumpkin seeds before eating. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to three months or refrigerate up to one year.
- Bonus: Pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas) are a great source of zinc and magnesium, which help the body absorb energy from food.
Kids love parfaits, so simply layer fat-free vanilla yogurt with canned pumpkin that you’ve mixed with pumpkin pie spice and a teaspoon of brown sugar. Top with a few chocolate chips. (We also like to include a layer of sliced apple that we microwave for 5 minutes with pumpkin pie spice. The sweet juice from the spiced apple makes the parfait even more delish!)
Cut a large banana in half so that each banana is at least 5 to 6 inches long. Remove “stringy” strands and place a popsicle stick in each half, making it like a popsicle. Cover each half with plastic wrap and place in the freezer until firm (approximately 2-3 hours). Melt ½-ounce piece of white chocolate in the microwave (time varies depending on your microwave, about 45 to 75 seconds) and spread it on each frozen banana half. Using mini chocolate chips or other small candy, make eyes and mouths and put back in the freezer. Allow to freeze again—and enjoy!
Melt white chocolate or chocolate chips in the microwave, roll some grapes in the chocolate, then remove grapes and lay flat on wax paper and cover top with wax paper and lay in the freezer to make grape poppers.