Written by: Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN
Halloween is a fun and festive time of year for adults and kids alike. With candy at the center of most celebrations, it’s definitely challenging for those limiting sugar or trying to avoid overindulging on sweets.
Simple DIY Low Sugar Treats
If you’re following a low-carb or low-sugar diet, there are so many ways to add sweetness and satisfy your sweet tooth without adding sugar. It’s super easy to substitute the sugar in cookies, brownies, and cupcakes with All-Purpose Stevia. A little do-it-yourself creativity can make healthier Halloween treats that taste great. Whip up a batch of brownies or cookies sweetened with stevia and “draw” on them using homemade icing created from stevia, butter, vanilla extract, and milk. Think ghosts, spider webs, tombstones… get the kids involved and have fun!
If you want to avoid added sugar altogether, there are some really cute items you can create quickly and easily. Draw jack-o-lantern faces with a permanent marker on the outside skin of clementines or mandarin oranges. Cut slits in the bottom third of a cheese stick to make it look like a witch’s broom. Use chocolate chips to make ghost faces on peeled bananas.
Tricks to enjoy your traditional treats
Are you someone who loses self-control on Halloween? If so, a few simple tips may help. Always eat a balanced diet of protein and fiber-containing foods throughout the day. “Saving” your calories for candy later will only cause you to overeat. Make sure to plan a nutritious meal before going out trick-or-treating or to a Halloween party to keep you from noshing all night.
If you choose to dive into the candy bowl, do so mindfully. Select a few of your favorites and really savor them. The nut-based options tend to contain less added sugar while gummy style candies are usually 100% sugar. Note that calories count the same whether you eat quickly or slowly so you may as well thoroughly enjoy your treats. Consider lining up your empty candy wrappers on the kitchen counter so you can see how much you have eaten. The visual cue is helpful to keep your portions-controlled vs continually reaching your hand into a loot bag or bowl.
Remember that Halloween is just one day, and a healthy lifestyle allows for occasional indulgences. It’s more important to reduce your overall sugar consumption throughout the year and save your sweet treats for special days. Halloween is an opportunity to engage in social activities and set a healthy example for the kids. Enjoy!