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How to Have a Healthy Home Halloween


Halloween is the best time of year to bring the family together to enjoy a spook-tacular evening of films, dressing up and, of course, treats.

In a study done in 2016, when over 2000 parents were asked ‘what do your children enjoy most about Halloween’, over half of them said it was the treats they were given during trick or treating. Sweets, cakes and chocolates can be great treats, especially when enjoyed in moderation, but the number of calories children normally consume on fright night can be more of a trick (over 170g – equalling their entire calorie intake for one day in just sugary snacks!)

This Halloween, however, will be a little different. While trick or treating may not be an option for some in local lockdowns, families can still celebrate in their own homes to bring a sense of that Halloween magic: playing games, keeping active, and giving classic foods a haunted twist. Coming together to make tasty, healthy, Halloween treats without any spooky sugary surprises can be a fun way to get children to be creative and enjoy healthy snacks.


Read on to find our top tips for having a healthy Halloween at home that still involves your favourite treats, but without the sugar overload.

This blog includes:

1. Fun and Feasts, Not Frightful Foods

2. Spookily Easy Halloween Snack Ideas

3. Best Treats to Buy to Avoid Sugary Tricks




1. Fun and Feasts, Not Frightful Foods


Whether it’s pumpkins to carve, apples to bob, or sweets to snack on, there’s no denying that this spooky night is all about foods. This doesn’t mean, however, that the featured foods need to be unhealthy. With a little bit of creative thinking, you can still have a fun evening while keeping the calories down. Here are 3 top tips to bring the frightful fun to your Halloween:

  1. Have a haunted supper: Avoid filling up on sugar by having a large, healthy meal before introducing sweets or going socially distanced trick or treating.Our head of the School of Nutrition at Future Fit, Anne-Marie, suggests ‘Organis[ing] a ‘haunted supper’…to fill up on nutritious foods, thus limiting a child’s appetite for food later’. This can be anything from Scary potato heads (carve faces into small unpeeled potatoes and bake in the oven. Serve with a ‘blood’ dip (ketchup)) to Eyeball pasta (create eyeballs from mini mozzarella balls and olive slices. Put on top of spaghetti bolognaise or your child’s favourite pasta dish). Have fun with this and see where your imagination takes you!

  2. Play haunted games: Try doing some spooky-themed workouts such as the ‘pumpkin work out’ (see image above) or host a treasure hunt for the children to run around collecting sweets and treats. Even if you don’t have a garden or the weather is particularly chilly, you can still host a haunted games event to get them moving while still having fun. You could also hold a Zoom party to stay connected to loved ones and share Halloween game tips.
  3. Have a clear plan: Having a clear guideline about how much sugar or treats you want you or your children to have is the best way to make sure you don’t go over the top. The American Heart Association suggests Halloween as a good time to have an open conversation about how many sweets they think is ok and why. Plan with them how many sweets they should have and what to do with any extras.




2. Spookily Easy Halloween Snack Ideas


While it can be more fun to experiment with your own Halloween treat ideas and designs, especially for children, here are some quick and simple recipe ideas you can use to add a little extra spooky magic to your home Halloween celebrations:


Banana ghosts – Banana halves on lollipop sticks, with chocolate buttons for eyes and raisins for mouths.


Healthy Halloween Stuffed Peppers – Take a pepper and carve a spooky jack-o-lantern face into the side, hollowing out the middle. Fill the pepper with your favourite ingredients such as grains, tomato (extra spooky if made to look like blood) and aubergine and bake for 35 minutes until soft and piping hot.


Pumpkin Pancakes – makes a fun Halloween breakfast treat. Stir in pumpkin or butternut squash instead of sugar with your usual pancake mix, fold stiffened egg whites into the mixture and cook in the pan (try and flip them as a Halloween dare). Once they’re plated up, decorate them with any spooky toppings e.g. berries for eyeballs.


Witches fingers – Slice up thin strips of pizza with triangles of tomato at the end for fingernails. Serve with a green ‘slime’ dip (sour cream and avocado).



For more ideas, and the full recipe for the peppers and pancakes, visit https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/healthy-halloween-recipes




3. Best Treats to Buy to Avoid Sugary Tricks


Keeping everything else in mind, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy a traditional bit of sugary delight. But some treats pack a hidden punch when it comes to calories and sugar load, and it’s always important to know how much your daily sugar intake should be. According to goodtoknow.co.uk, these are some of the tastiest and trickiest treats to know about this Halloween:


Treat Trick
Cola Bottles (n/a sugar per serving) Wine Gums (122g sugar per serving)
Gummy Strawberries (23g sugar per 40g serving) Percy Pigs (125g sugar per serving)
Fruit Pastilles (20g sugar per 10 sweets) Haribbo Starmix (100g sugar per serving)
Starburst (22g sugar per packet) Skittles (44g sugar per packet)
Lemon bonbons (17g sugar per small bag) Midget Gems (46g sugar per serving)


Check the guidelines at https://betreatwise.net/ to know how much sugar is right for you and your children.



In the Words of a Mummy, Lets 'Wrap Up'


While a lot of things may be put on hold this year, your Halloween fun doesn’t need to be one of them. By making a few simple changes, you can get creative and have fun with food and games while staying healthy. You might even discover a new spooky food to keep as a staple all year round, or teach your children that having fun at Halloween doesn’t need to come with a sugar crash the next day.


Keep treat smart, and have a wickedly fun Halloween.





References:

Stephen Matthews (2016) 'Trick or treat? Children will consume more than 3,000 calories just from Halloween sweets this year' https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3881572...

Be Treatwise.net https://betreatwise.net/

BBC Goodfood, 'Healthy Halloween Recipes' https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/hea...

American Heart Association,(2016)'How to Have a Healthy Halloween' https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-ea...

Olivia B. Waxman, (2012) '5 Tips for a Healthy Halloween' https://healthland.time.com/2012/10/30/5-tips-for-...

GoodtoKnow (2020) 'Healthiest sweets: The best and worst sweets for a diet revealed' https://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/wellbeing/best-and-wo...

YourTherapySource 'Pumpkin Workout and Brain Break' (image) https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/209276713914641786...