It's October now. We've survived back-to-school and maybe even are feeling a little more on top of things with a return to schedules and routines. Gone are the Summer s'mores and unlimited Sangria pitchers. Now, we may not be perfect (and why should we be?), but let's not run the train off the tracks here with the upcoming holiday season. I know everyone is aware of the ridiculous overeating that happens at Thanksgiving and the weekly holiday parties and Auntie Anne's mall pretzels that jump in our mouths while shopping in December. But, can we stop for a minute to talk about the big secret here? HALLOWEEN is actually THE gateway holiday! Halloween is the start of the chocolate overdoses, candy highs, and resulting sugar cravings that won't go away. You buy 5 bags of candy to give out to the kids because you ate the previous 5 bags of candy that you bought to give out to the kids. Before October 15th. Because they were on sale. A few (handfuls) too many of these fun-sized treats leads to a not-so-fun-sized amount of bonus holiday pounds. Then what? Halloween's candy rolls right into Thanksgiving's pies which turn into Christmas' cookies before you can say "green smoothie". Oh, hello New Years! Now it's time to proclaim my resolution for a healthier me - the same one I've made the past 12 years in a row - over a few glasses of champagne. Hmmm.
You can try some new options to hand out to trick or treaters this year. Not only will your neighbors thank you, but when you or the little people grab 1 (or 5) of these snacks for yourself, your body (especially your waist and immune system) and the kiddos (sugar-high tantrums, anyone?) will be much better off. Plus, what's cooler than being the healthy-ish mom on the block (says the health nerd)?
25 Alternatives to Junky Candy: Tricking and Treating your way to a healthier Halloween...
The items below follow just a few rules. They are all:
- Individually wrapped (tamper-proof)
- Healthier than typical candy
- Can be purchased in bulk
- Slightly more exciting than giving out pennies or boxes of raisins (though that IS another option).
- Mini Larabars
- Dark chocolate
- Trail mix mini packs
- Single-serve popcorn
- Single-serve veggie chips
- Organic candy (No artificial colors or flavors? That's a win!)
- Freeze-dried fruit or veggie packets
- Pureed fruit/veggie pouches
- Apple chips
- Beef Jerky (Weird tip from the vegetarian, huh?)
- Dried fruit (apricots, mango, apples)
- Mini granola bars
- Coconut water single-serve boxes
- Various milk single-serve boxes (regular, dairy-free, etc.)
- Pumpkin seeds (how apropos)
- Bananas or apples
- Applesauce containers
- Freeze-dried yogurt bites
- Individual bags popcorn kernels (hold the nasty chemicals)
- Small packets nut butter / sun butter
- Gum (sugar and fake sugar-free; bonus points if it has xylitol for their teeth!)
- Coconut shreds
- Individual boxes of oats or cereal
- Hot chocolate mix pouches (look for dark chocolate and one with the least amount of ingredients)
***With the rise of food allergies, it's worth noting that many of the listed items contain common allergens (nuts, gluten, dairy). These won't work for everyone. I recommend keeping a separate container of things like stickers, temporary tattoos, and glow sticks around for the children that need to be super careful of what they eat.
Here's to a boo-ti-ful October! ;-)