BROOKINGS, S.D. – What treats do you have in store for your ghosts and goblins this Halloween? How about some treats on the healthy side as suggested by Marjorie Zastrow, SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist.
“Often, Halloween treats are high in fat, sugar and sodium, but they don’t have to be. I encourage parents to consider providing treats which will contribute to the healthy lifestyle that many of us are striving for,” Zastrow said. “If you’re looking for treats that are quick, easy and packaged; lots of fruits and vegetables fit the bill.”
“Simple ideas for fruit might be whole bananas, apples, kiwi, baby carrots or single serving bottles of 100 percent juices,” Zastrow said. “It’s something the ghosts and goblins can munch on in their travels and are an easy clean up. Also, if you have any leftovers, it’s a quick easy snack for after school and lunch boxes.”
Dry fruit instead of candy
Zastrow suggested that parents consider the wide variety of tasty, dried fruits, which are packaged for easy toting; including dried apricots, craisins (dried hybrid cranberries/raisins), pineapple, raisins, apple slices, kiwi, strawberries and banana chips.
“You can find packaged mixed fruit combinations at many local stores. If you have the produce and a dehydrator, you could dry you own,” she said. “Though it may take a little time for home dehydrating, it’s generally inexpensive, packs easily and can be stored for a period of time if packaged properly.”
Beyond fruit snacks
Other healthy ideas Zastrow suggested which make great treats and contribute to an overall healthy diet include nuts such as almonds, cashews, peanuts and walnuts; lots of these come in individual packaging. Though nuts are a concentrated source of calories, they are a good source of protein as well as Vitamin E.
“For convenience, there is an abundance of packaged granola and nut mixes. Some granola mixes can contain an amount of sugar. When scanning the selections, refer to the nutrient facts label to choose the one with the least amount of sugar,” she said.
Zastrow also points out that not all Halloween treats need to be food-related.
“Consider ideas which encourage active learning or physical activity. Items may include such small packages of crayons, colored pencils, balls, word match games, jump rope or other such items which can often be found at dollar or discount stores,” she said.