7 vibrant autumn recipes - keep it seasonal
7 healthy Halloween treats
No one wants to be the neighbour who passes out plain fruit instead of sweets to trick-or-treaters, but what if you could make healthy Halloween treats more fun and appealing to children - or to your sweet-toothed friends and family?
Health at Halloween - a grave tale
In many places, Halloween has become as much about sugar, sweets, and trick-or-treating as it is about scary mythical creatures and horror movies.
If you're looking for some easy Halloween treats to stealthily sneak some vitamins and sugar-light options into your family's bellies this Halloween, there are two main methods of attack:
- Maximise on the natural autumn foods, spices and flavours that we lovingly associate with Halloween, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin.
- Harness the art of disguise by getting creative and dressing up your fruit and veg as witch fingers, vampires, and ghosts.
The following healthy Halloween recipes deliver Halloween flair that disguises healthier options, as well hiding free-from ingredients to help those with food intolerances join in the fun.
1. Little Monster pancakes
These spooky pancakes have a secret ingredient that gives them there monstrous green tinge - spinach. Considered a superfood because of its many health benefits, spinach contains iron for strong bones, antioxidants for good eyesight, and fibre which controls blood sugar. Children can also decorate these pancakes with their favourite fruits or vegetables.
2. Sweet potato jack-o-lanterns
Vegan and gluten-free
This simple recipe makes a perfect Halloween-themed snack or side-dish. Sweet potato is a classic autumnal ingredient - not to mention a firm festive favourite in the USA - that also has a natural sweetness, so there's no need to add sugar. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of vitamin C, beta carotene - used by your body to make vitamin A - and. Roast these fun shapes with olive oil, a healthy fat that's rich in antioxidants.
3. Green apple monsters
Little monsters will love munching into these adorable apple monsters, and you can even turn making them into a fun Halloween family activity. Apples help to keep our hearts healthy and promote good digestive health, and monster-teeth sunflower or pumpkin seeds also provide beneficial vitamins and minerals. In moderation, peanut butter and cheese are good sweet and salty alternatives to the processed sugar found in most shop-brought Halloween snacks.
4. Healthy pumpkin soup
Vegan and gluten-free when using gluten-free oats and stock cubes
Pumpkin soup is one of the more classic Halloween recipes. As well as keeping you cosy on cold autumn nights, this soup is packed with vegetables rich in vitamins and beta carotene. This recipe also contains other healthy flavourings, including carrots and garlic which contain vitamins C and B6 and other essential nutrients like iron and protein. This can also all be cooked in the slow cooker.
5. Spider pizzas
These mini pizzas are a great savoury, low-sugar alternative treat to serve at a children's Halloween party. The spiders are made from black olives and are spooky enough to lure children away from the sugary treats. Just expect pranks on younger siblings and a fair few squeals!
6. Halloween stuffed peppers
You can make Halloween family dinner fun with these healthy stuffed pepper faces. Just use a sharp knife to carve spooky Halloween faces in the sides, and your children may not notice they're enjoying a nutrient-rich, low-fat, and low-sugar vegan meal. Peppers and aubergines are packed with vitamins and minerals, and pine nuts and mixed grains are protein and fibre-rich, keeping your family energised, full, and happy.
7. 'Free-from' pumpkin chocolate muffins
Vegan and gluten-free
If you're after a festive sweet treat without the processed sugar or are looking to cater for dairy-free or gluten-free diets, try these pumpkin chocolate swirl muffins. Pumpkin spices and puree add a dollop of festivity, but for a little extra Halloween flair use themed paper cases and cake-toppers. The main sugar source in this recipe comes from maple syrup. While all sugar should be consumed in moderation, maple syrup has a slightly higher nutritional profile and has less impact on blood sugar levels compared with processed table sugar.