Planning a kids' party for Halloween? You don't want to add to the candy glut, and no one wants a room full of sugar-dosed kids. So, what do you serve? How about a few goodies that are fun, tasty, and nutritious all at the same time. Elizabeth Somer, registered dietitian and author of Eat Your Way to Happiness is here to share a few spooky goodies that also are good for you.
1. Pizza Mummies
What kid doesn't love pizza?! These mini pizzas use low-fat cheese, whole wheat English muffins, pizza sauce, and olives for eyes. High in protein, low in sugar, and fun too! Besides, children average less than one serving of whole grain a day. This is a sneaky way to improve that intake without the children even knowing they are eating healthy. Whole grains are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients not found in refined grains. They also are associated with lower risks for heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and even help with weight control
2. Jack-O-Lantern Treats
Decorate your food table with a chin-dribbling tasty snack. Carve an individual watermelon and ball the insides for finger foods. Watermelon is 92% water, so it helps to keep kids hydrated. It's high in potassium, vitamins A and C, and two compounds that help keep blood vessels squeaky clean - arginine and citrulline. For tips on how to carve a watermelon, go to watermelon.org/Carvings/Carvings-Tips
3. Fruity Popsicles
Speaking of watermelon. Here's a snack that works all year around. It's so easy, I'm surprised I didn't think of this one sooner! Place a wedge of watermelon on a popsicle stick. Voila! Instant treat with almost no prep!
4. Carroty Fingers in Dip
Carve the end of each carrot and place a slivered almond in the groove. Stick the carrots in a dip of hummus and you have a spooky snack high in vitamin A, protein, healthy fats, and vitamins, yet low in calories, salt, and no sugar. Instead of chips, which of course are high in salt and fat and almost devoid of nutrition, this dip adds an extra serving or two of vegetables to a child's diet. And, a carrot a day could slash stroke risk by 68%, according to a study from Harvard on almost 90,000 female nurses who ate carrots at least fives times a week. Carotenes in carrots and other orangey veggies also lower cancer and heart attack risks.
5. Ghostly Bananas
Peel bananas, cut in half, stick a popsicle stick in the flat part, and freeze. Coat with fat-free cream cheese and decorate with mini chocolate chips. Bananas are high in potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and studies show they help with a speedy recovery from exercise or any workout, so these ghostly bananas are good for fit parents, too!
6. Bloody Lemonade
Skip the soda pop or other sugary bottled drinks. They are directly linked to weight gain and provide nothing but sugar and calories. Instead, whip up some watermelon, raspberries, lemon juice and a touch of honey to make these frothy, red yummy smoothies to quench the thirst of any trick-or-treater.
7. Chocolate Nightmare Goodies
Kids average only 30 milligrams of the omega-3 fat, DHA, every day. Yet a recent study from Oxford found that 600 milligrams a day of this essential fat improved reading skills by up to 50%. So, most kids are getting 5% or less of a critical building block for brain development and learning. It's difficult to get kids to eat salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines and other fatty fish high in this omega-3, so how about a chocolate taste treat? Just one of these chocolates has 200 milligrams of this important fat necessary for brain development, learning, and memory.
8. Pumpkin Crackers
Place peanut butter between two round whole grain crackers. Use a bit of peanut butter to make faces and you have a healthy, kid-friend snack. You can even leave the ingredients out and let kids make their own. Peanuts are an interesting nut, since they really are a legume in the same family as black beans and lentils. Therefore, peanuts have all the healthy goodies of a nut, such as healthy fats, B vitamins, and fiber, AND all the healthy goodies of a legume, such as phytonutrients that help lower heart disease risk.
9. Pumpkin Patch Tatters
Just back sweet potatoes, scoop out the insides, mix with a little brown sugar and spices and form into little pumpkins. Top with a leaf or sprig and you have a vitamin A-rich snack also high in fiber and potassium.
Make "devil" eggs into screaming faces with this easy snack. Eggs are rich in choline, a compound that helps build nerve chemicals responsible for memory. They also are the gold standard for protein, with the highest quality protein in the entire diet. Of course, the yolks also have tons of cholesterol, so one screamer per child please. (I made these with fat-free mayo, so they are low fat, too)