Happy Halloweeen! We are pumped to celebrate the spooky holiday. And while Oct. 31 is very much about skimpy outfits and crazy costume parties, we haven’t forgotten about the most important part: the candy. When we were younger, there was nothing better than dumping out our pillowcases after a long night of trick-or-treating to see our bounties, trade with our friends and stuff our faces until we crashed from our sugar high. As candy corn and Reese’s cups floated by in our dreams, we knew Halloween was the best.
But are annual candy comas a habit you should bring into your adult life? Despite the fact that Americans consume about 24 pounds of candy per person per year, the answer is a resounding “no.” With all the new information coming out about the adverse effects of sugar, eating too much Halloween candy is definitely something we should avoid. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to give up on your treats entirely. Here are some healthy homemade alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth.
1. Chocolate-covered … well, anything
We’re pretty sure that it’s physically impossible to give up chocolate — its creamy goodness is what gets most of us through the day — but “fun-sized”chocolate bars are often a health trap. Luckily for us, making chocolate treats at home is incredibly easy. Simply buy your favorite brand of dark chocolate, stick it in the microwave and heat until it’s fully melted. Then, using a spoon, some chopsticks or your fingers — don’t be afraid to get messy! — dip any ingredient of your choosing into the gooey goodness, put it on a plate covered with parchment paper and stick it in the freezer for a few hours. Some suggested ingredients: healthy, homemade cookie dough, raisins, nuts, any type of fruit — fresh or dried — or pretzels.
2. “Nice cream”
Ice cream is pretty great, but it can be pretty high in fat and sugar. Banana “nice” cream is the health-food community’s worst-kept secret — a healthier alternative to everyone’s favorite treat that’s so good that you can’t tell the difference. Simply cut up one or two bananas and stick them in the freezer overnight. In the morning, blend with your choice of milk, and the rest is up to you! To make your “nice” cream extra creamy, blend in some nut butter. From here on out, it’s all based on preference. For different flavors, blend in some other frozen fruit, cacao powder, honey, vanilla extract or whatever else your heart desires. Then top with some fruit, dark chocolate or nuts and enjoy!
3. Add some veggies to your baked goods
Being healthy doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite baked treats. But why not add an extra health boost? Add shredded zucchini to any recipe — make sure to halve your other liquids to compensate — for some extra moistness and nutrients. Or, in honor of fall, try to add some pumpkin or squash to get you ready for the coming chilly months.
4. Go savory!
Halloween doesn’t only have to be about sugar! Some savory bites can make all the difference. Organize some veggies into the shape of a skeleton or make a “candy corn” quesadilla by melting different colored cheeses on top of your tortilla. A fun recipe to try is hot-dog mummies. Simply take some refrigerated crescent dinner rolls, cut them into strips and wrap them around a hot dog. Then, bake until the dough is a light golden-brown color — about 15 minutes — draw on some eyes with the condiment of your choice and dig in to your creepy snack. This recipe is adapted from Greatist.