Plus: tips to manage Halloween sugar consumption
Pumpkins are aplenty and the grocery store shelves are stocked with mini chocolate bars. That can only mean one thing: another Halloween is upon us. Personally, I find this occasion a little tricky. On one hand, it's a ton of fun--the costumes, the parties, the excitement. I love it. But on the other hand, the sugary foods that tend to come along with all of the festivities can leave parents cringing a bit. So, I try to take a balanced approach here and not let myself spiral out of control around... well, control. Luckily, my oldest isn't even three yet, so although I know the harder years are ahead when it comes to Halloween candy stress, I'm going to revel in this bubble of her naivety while I still can.
That said, this is the first year my daughter may need a few household guidelines in place to manage the Halloween sugar rush. She's aware enough that if I throw out her candy after she goes to bed (like last year), she may have something to say about it in the morning. Luckily, her limited candy experience means even a couple of pieces saved for the week will leave her feeling like she won the lottery. So this year my strategy will be to have her choose five pieces from her loot (read: allows her to exercise control by offering choice). I will explain that she can have one piece each day until the five pieces are gone. Hard to say how many years this will fly for, but I think it's important to note that you set the standards in your own home when it comes to Halloween candy practices. So, whatever you're comfortable with--maybe it's eat until your belly hurts on the 31st and then choose one piece for the next day; maybe it's give all of the Wunderbars to mom and dad and you can keep the rest; some families like to employ the Switch Witch and trade out the candy for a toy, etc.--whatever your comfort level is, remember that you are the boss.
Whatever model you choose, I like the idea of incorporating choice somewhere, because, like I mentioned above, putting some control in your child's hands is key, but remember that you are ultimately the decision maker.
We love to host our friends and their littles (although, if you're reading this in 2020, that looks different this year) and one of my favourite things to do is find healthier food hacks while keeping the theme and spirit of the day in mind. Food can easily be considered "treats" or "festive" without being void of nutrients. I've chosen five fun Halloween food ideas to include in a party menu or even in your chid's meals on the 31st to make the day extra special. I've used real, whole food ingredients, and also incorporated a few more "treat" foods that we don't see often in our house (like marshmallows!), making them extra special in my almost-three-year-old's eyes.
We don't use the worlds "good" or "bad" around food. It's important to monitor your use of these terms to support children's development of a healthy relationship with food. But I don't mind using words like "nutritious" or "special treats". It's teaching our children to tune into how different foods make their bodies feel, as well as how different foods help our bodies do their jobs better than others. It teaches them that sometimes food is just meant to be enjoyed. It's teaching them intuition and balance.
"It's teaching them intuition and balance."
So, let's get into these fun (and easy) recipes that you can try with your kiddos this Hallow's Eve!
Starting off with this cute little dish, because I think it could make for a lovely breakfast or morning snack. Simply layer some pineapple and clementines (or mandarines) and top with yogurt. I've used coconut yogurt here but you could also use whipped cream if you want to make it a little more decadent. I also topped with a few chocolate sprinkles to make it extra special for the littles. (Sidenote: I used vanilla coconut yogurt and, combined with the pineapple, it gave me serious pina colada vibes. Grownup bonus).
These cantaloupe and blackberry kabobs could not be easier, but don't they look festive? They are perfect for a halloween party or to send with your child to school. Fruit in Halloween colours? You can't go wrong.
I love the look of this plate. The green apples with the spooky sauce... so good. You're already winning with apples being the main ingredient, but the star is my sneaky healthy(er) caramel sauce. Ditch the corn syrup and follow along:
1 can full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 maple syrup
pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan except the vanilla. Bring to a boil for 4 minutes (stirring constantly). Reduce to simmer for about 45 minutes (until liquid has reduced by half), stirring as needed. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and let cool for about an hour. Cover and store in fridge overnight to allow for further thickening.
These are just the cutest darn ghosts I have ever seen. Plus, who doesn't love chocolate covered strawberries? I grabbed an organic white chocolate bar, melted it on the stove with 1 Tsp of coconut oil, allowed it to cool and thicken slightly before dipping my strawberries with lots of excess chocolate for a more "ghostly" shape. Let strawberries sit in the fridge on parchment paper for about 5 minutes before using small chocolate chips to make the eyes and mouth. Return to the fridge and allow to set fully before serving.
Apples + peanut butter + marshmallows = these adorable monster mouths. With three ingredients and about 5 minutes of prep, you can't go wrong throwing these on your party table. Also: how stoked was my daughter when there were marshmallows on her apples? Made her whole weekend. The sweetest part was when she saved one on her plate for a little later. After she played for a while, she went back to the table, made herself comfortable and enjoyed every moment of her third marshmallow.
Happy Halloween, friends! Tag me on instagram if you try any of these (or other!) healthy Halloween snack ideas!