Special to The Herald-Mail
With Halloween just a day away, the season of parties, foods, drinks, and desserts begins.
Traditional trick-or-treating can be scary for anyone who is trying to manage his or her weight, but striving for a healthy diet does not need to spoil the fun.
You can help spread healthy messages by providing healthful treat alternatives when passing the loot.
Typical Halloween treats involve high-fat, high-sugar treats that can wreak havoc on any healthful meal plan. Try passing some of the following healthful treat alternatives to promote healthy habits among children:
Looking for something to do this weekend? Find what you need in our Weekend Entertainment Guide newsletter.
- Cereal bars
- 100-calorie packs
- Baked chips
- Animal crackers
- Individual packs of dried fruit, nuts or seeds
- Sugar-free bubblegum
- Single-serving, low-fat microwave popcorn packs
- Sugar-free hot chocolate or hot apple cider packets
- Individual low-fat pudding packs
- Puzzle books
If you have children who are participating in trick-or-treating, make going through the loot a fun and educational experience.
One way is by playing a fun game of ranking the items from healthiest to least healthful, and take the opportunity to discuss what makes each item a wise or not so wise choice.
Also, be sure to set limits on portioning and also how long the treat bag will stick around.
Try eliminating the temptation within a week or so. Getting rid of the treat bag will also help keep fingers out of the treats.
Hopefully, we are all trying to make better choices, but striving for a healthful diet does not mean that you cannot enjoy a sweet treat now and then.
Moderation is the key. If you must indulge in candy, try choosing fun size snacks and limiting yourself to one or two pieces.
Smaller portions are best, however, they are still packed with sugar, fat, and calories, so be sure not to overdo it.
You might also choose to bake your own treats using less sugar and fat and also incorporating whole-grain flour to increase nutritional value.
It is easy to fool yourself into thinking that such a small piece of candy can't be doing that much damage. More than one or two pieces can easily add up to 500 or more calories.
Melissa Tewes is the clinical nutrition manager at Meritus Medical Center. She has 16 years of experience as a registered dietitian and is also a certified personal trainer.
Trick them into eating this healthful treat
With the leaves beginning to change and the cool fall nights upon us, one thing is for sure — Halloween is here.
Instead of giving your neighborhood ghouls and goblins sweet, sugary treats this holiday season, try this healthful alternative that will make your house the most popular on the block.
Cherry or lime gelatin can be substituted to create different colors or a few gummy worms can be added for a spooky twist.
Any way you choose to prepare this new favorite, it will be appreciated by kids and parents alike.
Joe Fleischman is executive chef at Meritus Medical Center. He has 20 years of experience as a professional chef, culinary instructor and speaker
Halloween cereal treats
5 ounces miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup margarine
2 tablespoons sugar free orange gelatin
6 cups puffed rice cereal
5 ounces dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 cup candy corn, roughly chopped
Combine marshmallows and margarine in microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high until marshmallows begin to puff. Add orange gelatin and mix until well combined. Stir in cereal until well coated, then mix in dried cranberries and candy corn. Allow to cool enough to handle but not totally set.
Wash hands thoroughly and coat with cooking spray. Form mixture into desired size balls and place on wax paper to set. Wrap cereal balls tightly in plastic to keep for up to 3 days. Mixture may also be pressed into a greased baking dish and cut into squares for serving.
Makes 24 cereal treats.