Top Tips for a Healthy Halloween

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Halloween is one night that many parents dread because of the inevitable lolly deluge that seems to flow. But, with some clever planning by you, it doesn’t have to be all sugar-laden treats. Here are some tricks for enjoying healthier Halloween treats this year.

The tradition of trick-or-treating is a lovely one and it can be a nice way to get to know your neighbours a little better – with parents taking part in the door knocking of course. However, unfortunately, it’s also one way to ensure that your child will end up with a seemingly bottomless bag of lollies by the end of the evening.

One way to avoid sugar overload is to take a small (hidden) bag of healthier choices with you – such as trail mix, cheese crackers, or fruit bars – and covertly hand something to your neighbour before she goes to fetch a treat, so that she can then give it back to your unsuspecting child. This has the added benefit of ensuring that your child isn’t eating food from a stranger, if that’s something you don’t feel comfortable about. Or, for neighbours you’re already friendly with, you might pop by earlier in the day to give them some warning that you’ll be dropping around and have some healthier treats ready to hand over then.

Having said that, making too much fuss about restricting access to lollies is one sure way to guarantee that your child will want them even more. So you might instead take the view that this is one evening that your child will be eating more treat foods than usual and just be relaxed and let him enjoy them. If you visit only a few houses, the stash hopefully won’t be too big. Just make sure his teeth get a particularly good brushing before bed that night!

Hosting a Halloween party

If you’re hosting a Halloween party, try to keep the focus off sugary treats and on to fun games and healthier foods, like apple-bobbing, instead. Pass-the-parcel Halloween style – with ghoulish stickers and stationary for prizes – is always a winner, and you might also like to try pinning the nose on the witch for a Halloween variation to the traditional donkey.
When it comes to serving food and drinks, there are lots of great Halloween party options that are on the healthier side, such as:

  • Risotto ball pumpkins – make some pumpkin risotto and leave in the fridge to cool before rolling into small balls. Stick on black olive pieces to make a Jack-o-Lantern face and some celery to make the stem and you’ll have gorgeous mini pumpkins.
  • Frozen banana ‘ghosts’ – pop half a banana on a paddle pop stick with the pointy end at the top and, using melted chocolate and/or choc chips, add ghosty eyes and a mouth. Pop in the freezer for a few hours before serving.
  • Mandarin pumpkins – another mini pumpkin idea is to use a black pen to carve pumpkin faces on unpeeled mandarins and pop a small parsley stalk through the top.
  • Halloween cupcakes – for a healthier Halloween cupcake, try these pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese icing.

As the party comes to a close, instead of offering lolly bags as a parting gift, you might prefer to offer non-food treats such as colouring books, yo-yos, bouncy balls or other little practical gifts that will be sure to delight your little guests just as much as a bag of sweets.

[This is an extract of an article I wrote for the Woolworths Baby and Toddler Club. To read the full article, click here].

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'What guides me is home cooking, listening to my appetite, using whole food ingredients, prioritising plant foods and keeping highly processed foods out of my kitchen.'