Featured article by Jessica Pantermuehl, Nutritional Counselor and founder of Beautifully Balanced Nutrition. Read more about Jessica, here.
With Halloween just around the corner, you may be dreading how all those fun-sized Snickers are going to impact your ongoing fitness goals, and with good reason!
Apart from the caloric content of ever-popular Halloween candies, the load of refined sugar found in the common array of treats can lead to inflammation, weight gain and a suppressed immune system—none of which are conducive to the start of a happy and healthy holiday season.
So what’s a festivity-loving individual to do?
Follow these tips to keep the scary out of your diet (and saved for your costume) this Halloween:
1. Consider filling the candy bowl for trick-or-treaters with healthier alternatives. I know what you’re thinking—I wrinkled my nose at this stuff too when I was a kid, but there are ways to get creative and make it fun. Think ginger chews, fruit leather, fake tattoos, stickers and pencils. It’s a win-win-win: for you, the kids and their parents.
2. Introduce your family to the new holiday icon, The Sugar Fairy. After your kids have a few pieces of their favorite candy on Halloween night, have them leave the rest in a pile next to their bed. In the morning, the Sugar Fairy has visited and left a cool prize in its place, such as a new Hot Wheels car, doll or book.
3. Celebrate the season with homemade pumpkin seeds. This is a fun activity to do with your kids, and they are a delicious, healthy snack. Simply rinse seeds under cold water, removing the pulp and strings. Toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a hearty pinch of sea salt. Get creative with flavor combinations, such as cinnamon and stevia; cinnamon, unrefined cane sugar, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. For a savory batch, try plain soy sauce, or garlic and a touch of cayenne. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or until golden and crispy.
4. Give yourself a real treat with this Raw Candied Apples treat.
Raw Candied Apples
(makes four apples)
4 organic apples, skewered (I love tart, so I use Granny Smith)
6 dates, pitted
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
4 tablespoons melted coconut oil
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons water
½ cup pecans, chopped (or any nut you would like)
Blend dates, coconut, cinnamon, salt, oil and water in a food processor until smooth. Cover apples with the mixture. Place chopped nuts in a shallow bowl and dip into apples into nuts, covering them to your liking. Lay apples on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
2. Chocolate Drizzle
5 tablespoons carob powder (or cacao powder if you prefer)
5 tablespoons honey (local and raw is best!)
5 tablespoons melted coconut oil
Mix all ingredients well and drizzle over the now cold apples. Refrigerate for another 10 minutes. Enjoy!
[Raw Candied Apples recipe inspired by This Rawsome Vegan Life]