Healthy Halloween treats urged for trick or treaters

Published 9:26 am Thursday, October 29, 2015

“Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!”
Kids love Halloween candy–buckets and pillowcases and trunks full of it, but it is no secret that it probably is not something “good to eat.”
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Monique Richard of Nutrition-In-Sight in Johnson City said eating candy, like most things, is all right in moderation for well-nourished children.
She said it is important to emphasize that it is a treat and should not be a substantial part of anyone’s diet. If they do over indulge in candy, then they learn the effects of that, she said, but they typically do not grasp the full effects of simple sugar on appetite, energy level or teeth.
“Young kids don’t understand that, so be the gate keeper but don’t be so strict that they can’t enjoy it,“ she advised.
Keeping in mind that many parents do not trust unlabeled or unpackaged foods from strangers, she suggested that parents pass out treats like animal crackers, pretzels, snack packs of goldfish, raisins, kids Cliff bars, dried fruit or trail mix as healthier options.. A creative option would be painting clementines like pumpkins as a festive treat.
“Those are easily accessible as far as being prepackaged and likable, but not as unhealthy as other options,” she said.
For Halloween party hors d’ oeuvres, she suggested putting baby carrots in a bowl of hummus like a hand reaching out, or sticking eight toothpicks in a plum and putting blueberries on the ends like a spider. A traditional treat would be ants on a log, made by filling celery with peanut butter and topping it with raisins. Another idea is to make spiders using pretzels as the legs with either a chocolate or piece of fruit as the body. She said people could dip fruit in chocolate and then freeze it, or they could assemble fruit on wax paper with toothpicks and pour chocolate over the top to make bug shapes or severed body parts.
One snack that kids would enjoy, she said, would be green goo snot shooters made from blended apples, spinach and celery.
With a dehydrator, people can blend fruit with honey and lemon to make a thick paste, dehydrate it and make homemade fruit roll ups, which can be molded or cut into a variety of spooky shapes, or even made into ghost popsicles if wrapped over a strawberry on a pretzel stick.
The possibilities are endless with a little fruit, vegetables, toothpicks, pretzels and creepy creativity.

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