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How to Have a Healthy Halloween

October 20, 2015

About 4 percent of all candy eaten in the U.S is consumed on one day — Halloween.

In fact, in the week leading up to Halloween, Americans buy 90 million pounds of chocolate.

Yes, you read that right.

With that much candy to satisfy our sweet tooth, eating healthy on Halloween is a challenge. I know the holiday invites people to indulge, but the trick to enjoying your Halloween treats is mixing in some good-for-you items with the more decadent stuff.

One of the best ways to cut your Halloween calorie count is to make your own treats. Homemade treats typically have more nutritional value than store-bought candy and can be a good source of fruits, vegetables, whole grains or low-fat dairy. For example, try popcorn tossed with cinnamon or dark chocolate-covered fresh fruit as healthier alternatives to candy. Make kid-friendly pumpkin treats, like fiber-packed cinnamon-roasted pumpkin seeds or vitamin A-rich pumpkin mini-muffins (or cookies). Smoothies made with low-fat yogurt, canned pumpkin, cinnamon, banana and ice also are a good alternative, as is apple slices with a fruit dip made with yogurt, canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. And if you’re in the mood for something savory, try these Jack O’ Latern sweet potato fries or mini pumpkin quesadillas.

One of my favorite healthy Halloween treats is pumpkin hummus. It goes great with pita wedges, whole grain crackers or fresh veggies. Here’s the recipe:

Pumpkin Hummus

  1. 2 Tbsp Tahini
  2. 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  3. 1 tsp cumin
  4. 1 tsp olive oil
  5. ¾ tsp salt
  6. 1 garlic clove chopped
  7. 1 (15oz) can of pumpkin
  8. 2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  9. 4 pitas, cut into 8 wedges
Topping: 1 Tbsp pumpkin seed kernels, toasted

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425°. Place pita wedges on baking sheet; coat with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 6 minutes or until toasted.

Place first 7 ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth. Add parsley; pulse until blended. Spoon hummus into a serving bowl and sprinkle with pumpkin seed kernels. Serve with pita wedges.

Yield 10 servings. Serving size: 3 Tbsp hummus and 3 pita wedges

Nutrition Information. Calories 117, Fat 2.6g, Protein 3.7g, Carbohydrate 20.4g, Fiber 2.1g, Sodium 330mg

What about candy?

Sure, many people will opt for candy rather than hummus on Halloween. So if you’re part of that group, try to fill your basket with “healthier” sweets. This chart shows low-calorie Halloween candies and their calorie counts.

Basically, they’re the “best of the worst.” Enjoy them in moderation and have a safe, happy (and healthy) Halloween.

CandyServing SizeCalories
Smarties1 roll25
Twizzlers1 piece37.5
Hershey’s Miniatures1 miniature42
Reese’s Mini Cup1 mini cup44
Hershey’s Nuggets1 nugget45
Haribo Gummi-Bears1 snack size bag50
Sour Patch Kids1 fun size bag50
Swedish Fish1 fun size bag50
Nestlé Crunch1 fun size bar60
York Peppermint Patty1 snack size60
Kit Kat1 snack size bar70
Mounds1 fun size bar80
Twix1 fun size bar80

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