NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

October 24, 2012

Healthy Halloween treats: Avoid nutritional nightmares

A trick-or-treat bag of Halloween candy can be a parent’s nightmare.

No matter how hard mom or dad tries to keep youngsters from eating too many of the sugary goodies, it happens. Instead of sending the kids to dozens of houses on Halloween night, opt for treats from a few close neighbors, and have a party at your home.

“Kids learn what they live,” registered dietitian Anita Courtney said. “If every party they attend has nothing but unhealthy food, it sets up an ongoing expectation. Because youth are hit with messages encouraging them to eat unhealthy food almost everywhere they turn, it’s important for parents to create a new paradigm.

“In my experience, parents love it when other parents offer their children healthy options. Kids love fresh fruits and vegetables especially when they are presented in an attractive manner. When I put out fruit and veggie platters at my children’s gatherings they were always the first to disappear,” said Courtney, who is chairperson of the Lexington Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition.

Here are some tips from GreenHalloween.org on how to make your Halloween party people-healthy, animal-friendly and earth-conscious.

When it comes to costumes and décor — reuse, borrow, trade, purchase used or do-it-yourself.

Treat bags can be anything. Match the bag to the costume using something you already own. Here are some ideas: purses, flower pots (cover the hole), cloth sacks, backpacks or lunch boxes.

If you’re giving a party, avoid disposables including napkins, plates, cups, tablecloths and other décor.

Compost pumpkins and any other food, including leftover candy.

To forget the sweets, serve some savory treats at your Halloween party:

Creepy mini pizzas

Crust:

3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 envelope Fleischmann’s pizza crust yeast or RapidRise yeast

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