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I’m a firm believer in balanced healthy diets for children – which means as well as including enough vegetables, protein and fibre in their everyday diet, we also need to be careful not to demonise certain foods and ensure that lollies and sugar become “sometimes foods” rather than something to deny kids altogether.

One of the most challenging times of year for achieving that balance can be Halloween when it seems like we are almost assaulted with a barrage of lollies, cakes and sugary, additive-laden treats!

However, I’m here to show you that healthy can still be delicious and with a few simple swaps, creative recipes and fun presentation ideas you can hopefully bypass the scary sugar highs and outwit the hidden nasties this Halloween.

Healthy tips for trick or treating:

  • Allow your children to choose two to three pieces of candy, chocolate or sweets and then offer them something exciting in exchange for the rest of their treats.
  • Avoid trick or treating on an empty stomach. Don’t send your kids out hungry because they will be more inclined binge on their loot. Put a Halloween twist on an old favourite like Quinoa and Beef Stuffed Capsicums. They are a quick and easy dinner to whip up your kids will love stuffing their very own spooky dinner.
  • Keep them hydrated. Thirst can be mistaken for hunger and thirsty kids will also be more inclined to drink sugary soda and fruit juices.
  • Have healthier treats on hand. Fill their loot bags with healthier treats such as dark chocolate buttons, nuts dipped in chocolate, raisins or sultanas dipped in chocolate,  gingerbread menmini trail mixes with chocolate buds or popcorn.
  • Pick the best of the worst.  If your child is determined to have their fill of Halloween treats then choose mini size varieties such as mini chocolates over full-size chocolate bars. Opt for choices that contain identifiable ‘real’ ingredients, such as peanut M&M’s (the peanuts contain protein which helps to increase satiety) over chocolate M&M’s. Wherever possible, aim to avoid brightly coloured snakes or gummy bears, which are a combination of artificial flavourings, colourings and sugar and can be gobbled up in seconds.
  • Homemade goodies. If you have the time, be prepared with easy-to-make homemade treats such as delicious Spooky Spelt BiscuitsChocolate Quinoa CracklesHalloween Pumpkin and Cinnamon Biscuits, Choc Chia Spider Pops and Choc Doughnut Witches Fingers (use doughnut dough and shape into finger, use an almond for the witches nail and coat with homemade chocolate – recipes from the Wholesome Child book).
  • Offer real food alternatives to lollies, such as peanut butter sandwiches, mountain bread wraps, mini pizzas, homemade scrolls or cut-up fresh fruit and veggie sticks. Sometimes just presenting food in a fun and ghoulish way can make all the difference.
  • If you’re entertaining this Halloween you might consider a Halloween themed cake rather than providing an array of sweets. You can say goodbye to the Halloween sugar rush and hello to healthy with this Marble Cake topped off with spooky banana ghosts! This delicious dessert will fill all the hungry tums, and be a feast for your eyes too!

To learn more about Mandy Sacher please visit the Wholesome Child website. Her book “Wholesome Child: A Complete Nutrition Guide and Cookbook” is available to purchase online and through iTunes, and you can connect with Mandy on Instagram and Facebook.

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  • These are all things we do!

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  • Limitations is a good idea on how much you can have

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  • Mine won’t be indulging but great ideas for those that are

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  • Yep we do all of these things. We also make the kids eat dinner before trick or treating and they are only allowed to have one lolly that night. The rest of the lollies are rationed or shared among the neighbourhood kids.

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  • Love the spooky look of this cake topped with the banana ghosts.

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  • My kids eat enough healthy food for me not to be worried about them eating chocolate etc at Halloween. It my birthday a few days after, so they pretty much get polished off then!

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  • Mine are pretty good when it comes to this a I don’t restrict them so they have a good balance and don’t go crazy. Sometimes they don’t even have any of the candy until the next day

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  • We space the treats out, no good going too crazy.

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  • All good ideas. It is only one day of the year, but agree no-one needs to eat that much candy in one sitting. I do think most of the fun is in what you get. My son used to bring it home, get all excited initially, then the rest would be put away and never seen again.

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  • Home made treats are also a fun activity for kids to participate in.

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  • Great ideas – love the concept of presenting food in exciting ways!

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  • Great idea. Not just for Halloween.

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  • Definitely a good idea not to trick or treat on an empty stomach!

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  • Looks great and I love the healthy option.

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  • I like the fresh fruit options

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