Come over to my house on Halloween and you’ll get one of these silly toys instead of candy!
I think my children start talking about Halloween just after their birthdays in July. Seriously. First of all, they start planning the costumes and then of course their eyes roll in delight at the thought of all the CANDY.
What is a healthy mama to do during one of the UN-healthiest holidays of the year?
Last weekend, I went apple and pumpkin picking with my family in beautiful upstate New York. As we were about to choose a large pumpkin to carve for Halloween, I spotted a field of butternut squash growing close by. It’s always fascinating to see vegetables growing and to pick them right then and there. It’s my dream to have an organic vegetable garden but for now, visiting local farms and selecting their produce is wonderful too. I picked the butternut squash (above) and when we got home made this simple soup. I love it when the weather cools down enough that I can eat soup for lunch every day.
Orange pumpkins and banana ghosts will impress any kid!
The trees are changing color, the pumpkins are out on every doorstep, the air is crisp, I spy a few princesses and astronauts – it’s that time of the year again…Boo! It’s Halloween! My kids have been dressing up in lots of different costumes all weekend and practicing face painting with various degrees of success. They just can’t wait for the big day. As a nutrition and health coach though, I’m a little apprehensive about the amount of sugar they’ll be consuming all week. I’m going to try to bring a little balance into all the festivities this week and make some healthy snacks for school treats and hand out some different options for my trick or treaters. I’m certainly not going to deny my kids their candy and bit of fun, but with added healthy options I hope they understand that Halloween doesn’t just have to be about sugar!
Here are my top tips to keep Halloween healthy:
Be creative with healthy food options
- Make easy pumpkin tangerines: peel little tangerines and put a short celery stick in the middle to look like a pumpkin.
- Make banana ghosts: cut bananas in half, dip in orange juice, roll in shredded raw coconut and add raisins or organic chocolate chips for eyes. Serve on wooden sticks or on a plate. (You should make these right before you want them to be eaten or they will go brown!)
- Make goblin smoothies: blend 1 cup almond or coconut milk, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1/2 cup spinach, 2 drops peppermint essence, 1/2 banana.
- Bake healthy pumpkin muffins with avocado topping. Find the recipe right here.
Hand out treats that aren’t candy
- Ditch the candy and hand out temporary tattoos (a huge hit in our house!), stickers, pencils and notepads or homemade cards.
Educate your kids about healthy eating
Halloween marks the start of the holiday season and sugar fest. It’s a great time to set healthy limits now with your kids and educate them about a balanced diet.
Eat a healthy meal before trick-or-treating
If your kids eat a healthy dinner before going trick-or-treating, they are less likely to overeat and can limit how much candy they eat on the big night.
What are your top tips for a healthy Halloween?
I think I’ve gone a little pumpkin crazy this year. I’m drinking pumpkin smoothies most days, snacking on spicy roast pumpkin seeds and enjoying pumpkin puree in risottos and soups. Here’s a delicious treat that I’ll be making on Halloween. If you come to my house to trick or treat, you might get lucky and get to sample one of these! The pumpkin muffin is paired with a delicious and healthy raw avocado-banana topping. Pumpkin is full of vitamin A and C, beta-carotene, healthy fiber and potassium. Avocados are super foods that we should be including much more into our daily diet as they are full of healthy fats.
Healthy pumpkin muffins
Ingredients for the muffins (makes about 16)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon each cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- (optional: 1/2 cup oats)
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup real maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons milk (almond, coconut or cow)
- 3 eggs
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together.
- Mix all the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.
- Combine both dry and wet ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Prepare muffin tin by lining with muffin liners or spraying each cup. Add a large spoonful of muffin mixture to each cup.
- Bake for 20 minutes in a 350F oven or until light brown and puffy.
- Remove from tin and cool.
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 medium banana
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
Directions: place all ingredients into a blender. Spoon onto tops of cooled pumpkin muffins.
I’ve been carving pumpkins all weekend with my kids in preparation for Halloween. I was left with a pile of slimy, thready pumpkin mixture from the inside of the pumpkin and a load of beautiful seeds. Rather than throw these away and waste them, I spiced them up and roasted them in the oven. Twenty minutes later and voila we had a healthy, crunchy and addictive snack! Pumpkin seeds are so nutritious – full of iron, magnesium, fibre, zinc, potassium, omega 3 fats and protein. It’s also good to know that the seeds from a sugar pumpkin are tastier than from a regular carving pumpkin but we used our carving pumpkin’s seeds and they tasted pretty good to me.
What you will need:
- Raw pumpkin seeds fresh from your pumpkin
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Spices: sea salt, black pepper, 1 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp cayenne. Or just experiment with any spices you love: oregano, basil, garlic powder, cinnamon, turmeric etc.
How to prepare the pumpkin seeds:
Slimy raw pumpkin
Carefully clean the pumpkin seeds by removing all the pumpkin bits from the seeds. This can be a little fiddly but shouldn’t take too long. Rinse in a colander and pat dry with kitchen towel. (Many people also soak their pumpkin seeds in filtered water and a little sea salt for 24 hours to ease digestion. If you prepare in advance and can allow yourself this time, then I recommend this step.)
- Spread the pumpkin seeds out onto a baking tray, mix with the olive oil and add all the spices you want.
- Roast in the oven at 400F for 5-20 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds. Check them and stir them throughout the cooking time. Be careful not to burn them as this can happen very easily!
Spicy Roast Pumpkin Seeds – A Healthy Snack