TIPS FOR A HAPPY AND HEALTHY HALLOWEEN
Welcome to MENU MONDAY everyone! It’s the day before HALLOWEEN – that incredibly popular holiday that ushers in the entire winter Holiday Season.
A holiday that began as All Hallows Eve in the Celtic culture of Ireland, Halloween symbolized the end of the summer growing season and the beginning of the annual harvest. And, to ensure that the next year’s crops would be plentiful, villagers left gifts of food on one another’s doorsteps. Eventually, the villagers began to dress up in costumes themselves. And this, of course, was the beginning of our modern day “trick or treating.”
And while Halloween today is associated with lots of candy and sweet sugary treats, there are ways we can still celebrate the holiday, have fun and keep our treating healthy.
So, let’s get started with 5 TASTY TREATS FOR A HAPPY AND HEALTHY HALLOWEEN:
- RAISINS. Not only are they a sweet alternative to candy, raisins are healthy in many of ways. They’re loaded with calcium which is great for our bones and teeth. They’re packed with lots of natural sugars, which keep us alert and energetic. The potassium and magnesium found in raisins help remove toxins from our body. The fiber helps us feel full and aids in our digestion. And, the polyphenolic antioxidant catechin, which is abundant in raisins, helps protect us from the free radicals that are linked to the development of cancerous tumors.
- STRING CHEESE. Here we have another low calorie treat that’s packed with calcium for building bones and strengthening teeth. With 50 to 80 calories per stick, string cheese still provides about 20% of our daily recommended serving of calcium. It’s high in protein and low in fat — both of which slow down the metabolism of carbohydrates and sugars we find in starches and candy. This provides us with sustained energy while minimizing the inevitable Halloween sugar high. It can be found in any grocery store and comes individually wrapped so you don’t have to worry about sanitation or contamination. Just keep this treat chilled until your Trick or Treaters are at the door.
- PUMPKIN SEEDS. As healthy as pumpkins are, the seeds may be the most nutritious part of this holiday staple. These little heart-healthy seeds are rich in plant-based omega-3 fats. They’re loaded with magnesium, which helps our nerves and muscles to function well while keeping our bones strong. The zinc boosts our immune system, aids sleep, helps maintains a positive mood and improves our brain function. They’re crunchy and flavorful – and available in ready to eat tiny snack packs.
- PRETZELS. Now, here we have an all-time favorite. After all, who doesn’t like pretzels?? Just keep in mind pretzels come in many varieties — and some of them contain ingredients that don’t have our health in their best interests. So, our best pick here is a one ounce serving of whole wheat pretzels that are pre-packaged and found in the snack aisle of most grocery stores. This little bag of goodness is brimming with omega-3 fatty acids, 6% of the protein and 10% of the thiamin and niacin daily requirement. And, they come in low-sodium varieties as well.
- CARROTS. Of course, we can’t overlook the baby carrot. What this treat lacks in excitement it makes up for in nutrition. A two-ounce packet will provide 8% of our daily fiber, which will keep us feeling full and aid our digestion. This tiny packet also provides about 220% of our recommended daily serving of vitamin A, which supports healthy mucous membranes, a strong immune system and protects against viruses and disease. And, the beta-carotene – which helps in the production of vitamin A – is great for protecting our eyes from disease including macular degeneration. By the way, baby carrots may not be chocolate but, they’re surprisingly sweet and satisfying.
So, if you’re not quite sure what to give the neighborhood kids this Halloween I hope this helps. And remember, the health benefits of these snacks are available all year long.
So, enjoy a SPOOKTACULAR HALLOWEEN my Friends. Make it HAPPY as you keep it HEALTHY.
Thanks again for joining me everyone. And until next time, stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .