As the weekend approaches and Halloween quickly creeps forward, it brings with it fears of trans fats and excess calories from sugar. Yes, it can be very daunting to ward off the crazy amounts of candy, but really as adults, what’s our weakness? We don’t exactly get handed candy just for showing up at a house and yelling “Trick or treat!” However, we may have some trouble facing the foods and drinks at that great Halloween party tomorrow night! If you are truly concerned about the selection of foods at the party, why not bring something yourself...
We always say that the best way to eat healthy is to make your own food, and this candy-crazed holiday is no different. However, being the moderation-preaching nutritionists we are, we would never tell you to bring something too “dietitian-y”. As long as the foods are prepared from scratch, they will be healthier than their pre-packaged counterparts, often with less fat (specifically made without trans fat) and less sugar. Here are a few things that I would bring to the party… who’s going to invite me???
I know they sound a little lame, but I promise they are delicious and perfect to place on the bar for a nibble. Plus, it's super easy to make.
Simply cut the top off of a medium sized pumpkin and proceed to cut into quarters. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and place on a baking sheet; let dry out overnight or for a few hours. Coat with 2 tsp olive oil and some ground cinnamon and bake in the oven on 300 F for 10-20 minutes. Watch them closely to make sure they do not burn!
Since you already cut up that pumpkin to get the seeds out, you might as well bake those pumpkin quarters in the oven on a baking sheet (open face down) for about an hour on 350 F, or until soft. Then simply peel and place in the blender, adding a little water as you go along to help it to blend together.
Now, find your favorite and easy pumpkin bread recipe, utilizing the fresh pumpkin, and substitute out half of the oil for pumpkin puree, making the bread a delicious and low-fat treat!
If you are feeling very adventurous and want to make your own candy, I applaud you! Since peppermint patties are one of the least caloric candies (and because I love Giada De Laurentiis) I am loving Giada's recipe from The Food Network’s website:
With these 3 dishes, you will have something healthy to nibble on, a low-fat snack, and likely a lower-calorie candy than most at the party to satisfy that ever-present sweet tooth. It's the perfect 3 course "meal" to keep you happy and satisfied all night long. Just be careful of the spooky drinks…
--Samantha Jacobs, MS RD CDN