Natural Living: Avoid the sugar rush this Halloween | NevadaAppeal.com

Natural Living: Avoid the sugar rush this Halloween

Maureen Lamerdin, O.M.D.

We all know that Halloween is celebrated with plenty of candy and sweets. It can be fun to indulge in candy corn, snickers, caramel apples and suckers but there are a million more reasons to either limit your intake or to stay away completely. This is easier said than done with kids, however here are a few tricks to help guide you to the start of a healthier holiday season.

If you are handing candy out try these tricks:

Give tricks, not treats and be a good example to your kids and those that come to your door. Light up necklaces and sticks are a huge hit with kids and you'll keep them safe. Give out stickers, tattoos, crayons, colorful pencils or other fun toys and crafts to allow the kids to use their imagination.

Give the "good" stuff. Packaged nuts and seeds, popcorn, small granola bars, yoghurt covered raisins are healthier choices than candy. Avoid the candy that most parents will throw away; Gobstoppers, taffy, sour patch kids etc.

Stick to small portions. If you must give out candy, purchase in bite sized treats to help kids eat in moderation.

If you have children trick or treating, prepare them and yourself for a melt-down free evening by using some of these tricks:

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Eat before venturing out. Before trick-or-treating, serve a meal that you know your child will enjoy to ensure he or she will be full before going out to collect candy.

Count the candy. Before Halloween, talk with your child about a designated number of candies he or she can eat on Halloween night and on the days that follow.

Out of sight, out of mind. Keep the candy on a high shelf so it is not easily accessible to you and your kids. If your kids are young enough, they might forget all about the bag of goodies after the big night.

Trade the candy in. Allow your kids to trade their candy for a toy, a book or even money.

Donate the extra candy to sites that ship the candy to troops overseas. Many dentist office's or veteran's groups collect the candy to ship overseas.

Save the candy in a hidden spot to build a gingerbread house this upcoming holiday season.

Bribe your kids with homemade goodies. Perhaps your kids want to trade their candy in for their favorite "healthy" homemade baked goods. For a few healthy ideas, look for recipes at the end of this article.

However you choose to handle Halloween with your child, make sure you go through their bag and throw out any treats that are not packaged and while you're at it sort through them and throw out the junk that will only drive up the dentist bill.

Here are a few homemade recipes to entice yourself and your children to eat "healthier" goodies by http://www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com.

Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

1/4 cup quick oats

1/4 cup peanut butter (or almond)

1 tablespoon cacao or cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/4 cup dates (de-seeded)

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon water

Handful mini chocolate chips.

Combine the first five ingredients in a food processor and process until fine crumbles form. Add the water and process again. Stir in some mini chocolate chips if desired. Transfer crumbles to a small bag and smash into a big ball. Remove from the bag and break off pieces to roll into little balls. Recipe makes 8-12 balls, depending on how big you roll them.

Caramel popcorn

4 tablespoons unpopped popcorn

1/4 cup xylitol or Sucanat (or coconut sugar or brown sugar)

1/4 cup honey

1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional for a richer caramel flavor: 2 tablespoons buttery spread (Earth Balance)

Optional: roasted peanuts, dark chocolate chips, etc.

Pop the kernels. Then transfer to a large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, combine the two sweeteners (and the butter spread, if using) and heat on low — stirring occasionally — until the dry sweetener is completely dissolved. Pour this mixture over the popped corn and stir to coat. Much of the sauce will fall to the bottom of the bowl, so be sure to scoop it up and keep stirring for a full 2 minutes. Sprinkle on the salt and add chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruit if you wish.

This Halloween season be safe, have fun and avoid the sugar rush!

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