Healthy Halloween treats

Staying within your child’s school snack policies.

Does your child’s school have limitations on classroom snacks this year? Are you looking for something healthy to serve at a Halloween party in school or at home? There are many things you can substitute for candy and other sweets that you may not want your child to over eat.

If you do plan on bringing something to a classroom, Michigan State University Extension recommends first checking with the teacher to see if there are any food allergies in your child’s classroom. If peanuts or another substance, are not allowed, and you prepare something with even the slightest amount of that product, a classmate could become deathly ill. It is prudent to check first and prepare with safe ingredients.

Where to start? Try looking at the parts of MyPlate:

Fruits and vegetables are great foods to begin with – do you remember having grapes as a child, blindfolded, and being told they were eyes? What about apple mouths, filled with peanut butter and marshmallows for teeth? I remember these things from when I was a child, and have made them for my own children. Fruit juices could be served as odd shaped ice. The ice could be made of green kiwi or grapes! Children love fruit – it is a natural, healthy treat for them no matter how it’s prepared.

Vegetables are easy to do with healthy dips – just cut carrots, celery, green or wax beans and dip into hummus (mashed brain) or yogurt dip (equal parts of vanilla yogurt and smooth peanut butter, mixed well). Celery, stuffed with cream cheese with pimento or catsup can look very “icky” at Halloween. The sky is the limit when thinking of scary, funny and imaginative ways to get the children to eat healthy snacks. Many children prefer raw vegetables to cooked, so try some. With the dip it’s a win-win!

Whole grains are also a possibility. Kids love to make their own trail-mix. Muffin tins filled with whole grain cereals, seeds, nuts, pretzels, raisins and other dried fruits, and possibly some bite sized candy bits for color can be a great activity or snack. Use snack size plastic bags or plastic food service gloves for them to spoon in their desired ingredients. The best part of this activity is that you have control over the ingredients. Popcorn in the same food service gloves with candy corn fingernails are also fun treats. Ten pieces of candy corn with all the popcorn is much healthier than plain candy or frosted treats.

Dairy can also be used. Pretzels with tinted cream cheese as a dip are fun. You could blend up some kale and add the cream cheese for a green treat. Individual yogurt or frozen yogurt dishes are well received as well.

Whatever you send to your child’s classroom, I hope you decide to make it healthy, with or without your school’s policy on snacks. Our children’s health depends on us – we can make a difference!

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