With Halloween this month and Thanksgiving around the corner, we will be plunged into a world of holiday cheer. Eyes sparkle at a bounty of sugar-laden treats. But we all know the less than stellar effects. And it may not be limited to belly aches.
One mommy I consulted with complained that Halloween destroyed her son’s eating habits. She said her son only wanted candy, and refused to eat real food for weeks. Exaggeration or not, candy can be quite addicting. And thus she swore off celebrating Halloween, until, well…. it came around the next year.
Like it or not, enjoying treats during holidays is a part of a culture. So I wouldn’t propose doing away with holiday treats, but rather to make them yourself with healthier ingredients. Here’s a Roundup of treats your kids will love. And believe me, these treats are not only dietitian-approved, they are definitely “dessert-worthy!”
Date Caramel Apple Cookies
If you want simplicity, try nutritionist Laura Murray’s Date Caramel Apple Cookies! No baking required! And nothing speaks more to Halloween than caramel in my opinion. “These have to be the healthiest, easiest “cookies” ever made,” says Murray. The caramel is made with dates, so there are no refined sugars or processed sweeteners in this one! Served up on a crisp apple with coconut flakes, chocolate chips and your choice of nuts / seeds, it’s based on whole food goodness.
Caramel Apples for Healthy Kids
Caramel apples have always been my favorite fall-festive treat. Traditional candied apples contain a lot of sugar and other junk. But the caramel coating in this healthier treat is not such the case. It’s got the taste/texture of the real deal without all the added sugars. To coat one small apple, each serving contains just 70 calories, 3g sugar, and it’s got 6g protein! Check out the secret ingredient and recipe on Nutri-Savvy’s Blog.
Black Bean Brownie Bites
These Black Bean Brownie Bites are made with a whole can of black beans! “These delicious bites all contain tons of nutrients and are a super healthy way to indulge,” says Kelly Jones, a registered dietitian who specializes in sports nutrition. “It’s got the right amount of carbs, with a tad of fat, protein and fiber,” she says. Athlete or not, your kid (or inner child) will certainly love this treat. And don’t stop here because Jones has got another great treat for them.
Garbanzo Bean Cupcakes
Next up Kelly Jones’ Garbanzo Bean Cupcakes! You guessed it; they’re made with Garbanzo bean flour, adding the plant-based protein and fiber to the mix. But you don’t have to tell your kids it’s made with beans, just let them enjoy the delicious “banana bread” flavored cupcake. And not only is the batter comprised of whole food fruit goodness (bananas, applesauce), the pretty topping adds a fruit-full appeal!
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
Peanut butter and chocolate! Now that’s a winning combo. These Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies another great treat by Laura Murray are also made with beans – yep, black beans! Filled with fiber and protein and low in sugar (with no added fat), these brownies are definitely a healthy option! It’s further evidence that beans are a secret to (healthy) baking success.
Secretly Healthy Coconut Pumpkin Granola
And speaking of secrets, you’ll never guess what veggie hides in Casey Cromwell’s Secretly Healthy Coconut Pumpkin Granola. In addition to the pumpkin, it’s made with summer squash! “I love adding hidden veggies (which you can’t even taste!) And the squash helps give a chewy texture to the granola,” says Cromwell who blogs deliciously about surviving (college) with Celiac disease. She enjoys serving her granola in a smoothie bowl.
Allie Nesheim Key’s Sweet Potato Cookies are another perfect fall treat! “These cookies are vegan, gluten-free and naturally sweetened thanks to the sweet potatoes and maple syrup. They’re a quick and easy way to get in some essential vitamins and nutrients,” says Allie, a mom of two, food blogger and health/fitness enthusiast.
Get some nut butter goodness in their tummies with this creative version of Ants On A Log “If your kiddos love S’ mores, they will love this twist on the campfire classic! PB & Co Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter + graham cracker crumbs + mini marshmallows. Can (it) get any cuter and delicious?” says Shannon Garcia, registered dietitian. And there’s plenty of other fun combo’s you and your kids can create (and enjoy!)
Peanut Butter Frosting Dip
And this final treat, wraps up a perfect line-up of healthier fall treats. Introducing Jenna Braddock’s’ Peanut Butter Frosting Dip! “The texture is unreal! It’s just like what you would imagine a rich, creamy frosting to taste like — heavenly,” says Braddock, a registered dietitian and media spokesperson.
Just look at the whisk! The major difference, it’s made with real whole food nutrition. With peanut butter and Greek yogurt it provides heart-healthy fats, probiotics, protein and Calcium. Not the typical frosting “fat trap” comprised of excess sugar and fat. And better yet, it’s a perfect way to encourage more veggies and fruit. Fun Eating Tip: Scoop it up with apple slices, celery, zucchini sticks and/or carrots.