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6 Halloween Tricks For Healthier Treats

Resist the candy dish with these yummy alternatives


It’s hard to avoid candy dishes around Halloween. They’re near the front door for trick-or-treaters, on your coworker’s desk, in the reception area of the auto repair place.

Basically, turn around and you’re face-to-face with sugary deliciousness.

You vow to leave the bowls of sweets untouched, saving them for the kids who come to your door or those with less willpower. But, somehow, as October 31 inches closer, the once-brimming bowls start to dwindle as your garbage can somehow fills with telltale empty wrappers.

It’s hard to say “no” when candy is ubiquitous. But, with a little extra effort, you don’t have to live without treats this Halloween season. You can make alternatives that will satisfy your sweet tooth — and better serve your waistline and your health.

Try these healthier substitutes for six Halloween staples:

Halloween Staple:

Almond Joy

Replace with:
Your own chocolate-covered almonds

Or try this recipe from Real Simple for roasted mixed nuts with chocolate and sea salt

Toasted Almond Bark, courtesy of PBS Foods, will give you a similar crunch without all the additives

Make it healthier: the higher the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate you use, the healthier, as the New York Times just noted in its article about the memory benefits of chocolate. Depending on your taste preferences, you can experiment with higher-percentage chocolate in these and other recipes.

Halloween Staple:

Hershey’s Bars, M&M’s

Replace with:
Opt for a high-quality, organic dark chocolate bar. Good quality dark chocolate is chock full of health-promoting antioxidants. Choose organic to eliminate pesticide worries and as high a cocoa percentage as your taste buds tolerate.

If you have the time or interest, select a few different bars and have a chocolate tasting. Like wine, chocolate can have a terroir, or “taste of place,” that is unique to each bar. Invite friends over and make it an evening: taste the bars side by side and try to identify each one’s unique flavors.

Halloween Staple:

Skittles

Replace with:
Frozen grapes. Same satisfying fruity taste, waaaaay more health benefits

Halloween Staple:

Cracker Jacks

Replace with:
Follow this SFGate recipe for a healthier version of popcorn balls. You often don’t need more than one teaspoon of honey to hold together a half cup of popcorn, keeping the glycemic index relatively low.

Halloween Staple:

Caramel or candied apples

Replace with:
Dip apple slices in honey, peanut butter or almond butter

(New) Halloween Staple:

Halloween Oreos

Replace with:
Make your own pumpkin bread. This recipe from 100 Days of Real Food uses honey instead of sugar.

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