A Healthier Halloween

The Beginning of the Holiday Season
Halloween marks the beginning of the holiday season. The next couple of months are filled with treats, parties, family gatherings, alcohol, and a packed schedule. So how do you continue to pursue your health and fitness goals despite this time of year?
The definition of insanity is…Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.

This year, as the holiday season approaches, do things differently than you have done in the past. It’s not about “depriving” yourself of your holiday favorites but rather substituting with healthier foods and behaviors. (Although I would argue that choosing your health and wellbeing over sugar and less healthy food as well as the health of those you love is NOT deprivation.)

Non-Candy Alternatives
Halloween is next weekend; do you plan on handing out candy to trick-or-treaters? Let’s face it; kids will receive enough candy filled with high fructose corn syrup between parties at school and trick-or-treating. What if you handed out something that wasn’t candy? My guess is parents would thank you, and your house wouldn’t get egged!
Ideas Include:
  • Glow Sticks
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Stickers
  • Pencils
  • Halloween plastic jewelry that is glow in the dark
  • Mini Play-dough containers
  • Halloween mini-toys: plastic eyeballs, fake fingers, etc. 
Bottom line is be creative…ask your kids what they would like to get other than candy.
Better Choices
The biggest issue with Halloween candy other than the obvious (sugar) is the high amounts of high fructose corn syrup and GMO’s (genetically modified organisms).  You can bet that any product that contains high fructose corn syrup is a processed industrial food that is void of any nutrients.  To increase health, we should seek whole, real, unprocessed foods that are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.
If you still want to hand out candy, here are some “better” choices free of the ingredients above.
  • Endangered Species individually wrapped chocolates
  • Yummy Gummy Candies
  • Annie’s Gummy Snacks
  • Trader Joe’s Organic Pops
  • Unreal Candy
  • Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups
Most of these products can be found at Whole Foods stores and some other local grocers.
Switch Witch
What is the Switch Witch?
The Switch Witch lives on the dark side of the moon.  She LOVES candy.  The Switch Witch loves candy so much that she’s eager to trade toys to girls and boys in exchange for their candy stash.
The girls and boys can choose to keep a little candy for themselves, but the more they give to the Switch Witch, the better their toy will be!  The Switch Witch eats the candy over the course of the year.  Just when she runs out, it’s Halloween time again for another visit from the Switch Witch.
The Switch Witch can also be known as:
 * The Candy Fairy
 * Great Pumpkin
Have the Switch Witch come to your house this year…
After trick-or-treating on the 31st, allow your kids to pick 5 of their favorites pieces of candy. Place the rest on your front step for the Switch Witch. In the morning, your kids will find a new toy, book, or something else they would value more than candy in exchange for the candy they left the night before.
Recipes to Try this Halloween
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Banana Bread 
2 mashed bananas
1 cup canned pumpkin
4 Eggs
½ cup Almond butter
4 TBSP melted coconut oil
½ cup Coconut flour
½ TBSP Cinnamon
½ TBSP Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. VanillaPinch of Sea Salt
 ¼-1/3 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Combine your bananas, eggs, almond butter, vanilla, and melted coconut oil. Mix well.
Add in coconut flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt. Mix well. Fold in your chocolate chips.
Grease a metal loaf pan with coconut oil. Pour in your batter and spread evenly.
Place in the pre-heated oven for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Pumpkin Ice Cream
2 frozen bananas
¼-1/3 cup canned organic pumpkin
¼ cup canned coconut milk
¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or to taste)
Add bananas, pumpkin, coconut milk, and pumpkin pie spice to a food processor.
Process until mixture becomes the consistency of ice cream.
If you like the “soft serve” texture enjoy right away. If you want it to be thicker, put in bowls and place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
½ – 1 frozen banana
½ cup canned organic pumpkin
½ cup canned coconut milk or 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice or ½ tsp. cinnamon
Add all ingredients to a blender and enjoy!!!
Final Thoughts
The holiday season is a wonderful time of year to connect with family and friends. Remember it doesn’t always need to be centered on food and treats. This is a great opportunity to start family traditions that do not involve food. Examples include pumpkin carving, cutting down a Christmas tree, ice skating, etc.
Or you can enjoy a healthier version of your favorite treats and not completely derail your supportive nutrition plan!
 “All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney