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Healthy Halloween Can Happen! Happy Halloween with a Healthy Twist!
By Jyl Steinback

Have no fear … you will NOT compromise the spirit of Halloween by "dissing" sugar-laden, sticky, gooey treats and leaning toward the healthy side. You can banish sugar demons from your household without unleashing impish spirits. Focus on fun and fantasy, rather than food. With a little planning and preparation, kids will never know what they're missing!

How To Keep the Fun Without All the Sugar and Fat!
*Give children a healthy meal or snack before trick or treating so they won't be as tempted to dig into goodies before they get home.
*Put the candy out of sight the day after Halloween and ration out treats. Substitute a small portion for dessert or serve a small serving along with a healthy snack. From a dental standpoint, eating sweets right after meals is better than snacking throughout the day.
*Donate candy to senior centers.
*Divide some of the goodies into freezer bags and use later.
*Cut up candy bars and use in baking for cookies and cakes.
*SAFETY counts! Establish a FIRM rule that all treats must be checked at home BEFORE anything can be eaten. NEVER eat treats that are unopened.

Planning your own party? This puts you in the driver's seat! Best buffet ideas:
*make your own pizzas (tortillas, pita breads, or English muffins spread with pizza sauce and topped with low fat cheese - let kids make funny faces using bell pepper strips, black olive slices, carrot slices, etc.)
*popcorn balls or chili-spiced popcorn
*pretzel sticks or low-fat Munchy mix
*apple and pear slices with low fat caramel dip
*grapes rolled in sugar
*oatmeal cookies prepared with applesauce, crushed pineapple or canned pumpkin instead of butter or margarine
*low fat pumpkin bars
*"witches brew" (prepared with orange juice, lemonade, and apple cider)
*raisin, dates, or other dried fruits and nuts
*Plan your menu based on foods with Halloween colors and themes. For example: Serve carrot, sweet potato, or black bean soup ladled out of a huge pumpkin, or served individually out of mini pumpkins. Try grilled chicken with orange salsa or salmon with black bean salsa.

Tip Top "Hand-Out" Halloween Treats:
*Sugar-free gum
*Juice box packages
*Mini boxes of raisins
*Snack sized bags of animal crackers
*Fruit roll ups
*Snack sized bags of pretzels
*Cracker and cheese packs
*Pudding cups
*Package of instant cocoa mix
*Trail mix
*Dried fruit
*Boxes of crayons, stickers, colored pencils, erasers, baseball cards, or rubber spiders
*Coupons for fast food restaurants
*Fun-sized candy bars

Jyl Steinback, "America's Healthiest Mom," is a cookbook author, personal trainer and health expert. Her series Family Fit Lifestyle Cookbooks have sold over 2 million copies. Her current book, "The Busy Mom's Make it Quick Cookbook" (October 2004) includes over 300 low-fat, quick and healthy recipes.

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