How To Limit Kids’ Sugar During Halloween

Lifestyle, Thoughts

It’s getting spooky out there, folks. Ghosts and skeletons are hanging from neighbors’ trees, the seasonal decor aisle at Target is empty, and children are already donning costumes around town. The big trick-or-treat night is upon us, and if you’re like most parents, you’re likely dreading all the SUGAR that comes with Halloween night.

BoredPanda, one of the internet’s most light and fun-loving news sites covering viral content, recently reached out to me asking for tips to help parents keep their children’s snacks healthy this Halloween. As a mom of two young kids, I was delighted to share my experience on how we’ve navigated this sugary time of year.

Below is the article from BoredPanda, and you can read the full article here.

My kids favorite Spider Crackers

Tips To Limit Kids Sugar Intake During Halloween:

  1. Prepare healthy snacks with your kids – I’ve noticed my children are always more likely to eat healthy food if they help me prepare it. Kids love being little helpers in the kitchen! This way, they’re exposed to all the sensory experiences of their food prior to seeing it on their plate for the first time. They also feel really proud of what they’ve created, which encourages them to taste it. My kids especially love stirring and mashing! Guacamole is one of our favorite healthy snacks to make, because they have lots of fun mashing the avocado! We also love making healthier breads, pancakes and muffins by adding shredded zucchini to the batter.

2. Create festive healthy food – Kids are so visual! No wonder they love candy’s colorful packaging! If your healthy food looks fun, your children may think it will be fun to taste, too! Try getting creative in the kitchen with festive-looking healthy snacks, like spider crackers or fruity ghosts and pumpkins. For more ideas, I shared 6 healthy Halloween treat ideas on KTLA-TV here.

3. Sneak in veggies – In an effort to cancel out the potential increase of sugary treats during this time of year, I’m always trying to find ways to sneak in extra veggies into my kids food. Spinach and zucchini are two great vegetables that hardly have any taste when blended or cooked into food. I always add spinach to my kids’ smoothies, and I’ve recently started shredding zucchini into all breads, muffins and pancakes. Check out how I add zucchini into an easy Trader Joe’s pumpkin bread mix on Instagram here.

4. Make it fun and pressure-free – Hype up those fruits and veggies! Talk with your children about how healthy food is “growing food.” All young kids are so excited about growing! Eat healthy food with them! Your their best role model. And, let your kids play with their food! That’s right, I said it… Allow them to PLAY with their food! Let them make their bell pepper stick into a train or build a house out of watermelon cubes. The more they touch their food, the more likely they’ll eat it. The more your pressure them, the less likely they’ll eat it. Their little brains want to know that they’re in control of their bodies, so the more you force certain foods, the more power they’ll desire to reject it.

5. Don’t worry, it’s temporary! – Halloween is one time of year. Just because your child ate four Snickers and an unlimited amount of Skittles on one night does not mean that this is their new normal. If anything, it’s valuable for your child to participate in Halloween and learn how a sugar overdose affects their body. When the night is over, ask your child to describe how their body feels. They may complain of tummy aches, headaches, or being tired the next day. It’s a good opportunity to speak with them about how different foods affect our bodies. Instead of withholding candy from your child (which will likely make them resentful toward you), utilize the holiday as a teachable moment.

Green Goblin Smoothie Bowls blended with spinach and berries and topped with dried fruit and nuts for faces!

Do you have any tips to get kids to eat healthier? Share below in the comments!

For more easy recipes and fun ideas for the family, be sure to follow me on Instagram and TikTok!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Healthy Halloween Snack Idea: Fruit Ghosts and Pumpkins!

Cooking, Health & Wellness, Kitchen

What’s scarier than ghosts on Halloween? Kids overdosing on sugar!

A hot topic every Halloween season is how to limit our kids’ candy intake. That’s why I love getting creative in the kitchen to make healthy food fun! For example: Cutie Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts! These fruity treats are so easy to make and fun to eat! They’re the best sweet and spooky after-school snack, or they’ll look fabulous on your table at your Halloween party!

Cutie Pumpkins: Peel clementines and cut celery into small sticks. Have kids add the celery sticks to clementines as stems to make pumpkins!

Banana Ghosts: Peel bananas and cut in half. Have your children add mini chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth to create ghosts!

If you’re looking for more healthy Halloween snack ideas you can make with your kids, check out my segment that aired on KTLA-TV last year, below, or read my blog post here.

Watch me share healthy Halloween snacks on KTLA in Los Angeles!

Use these tools to create a fun fruit platter for your Halloween party:

 For more easy recipes and fun ideas for the family, be sure to follow me on Instagram and TikTok!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Easy Halloween Snack Idea for Kids: Healthy Spider Crackers!

cooking, Cooking, Health & Wellness, Kitchen

I shared these easy Spider Crackers on KTLA-TV last year, along with some other healthy Halloween treats for kids, and they were such a hit that I had to post them on my blog again this year!

Easy, festive and healthy Spider Crackers!

I love these Spider Crackers because:

(1) They’re easy! You only need 4 ingredients, and most of them you probably already have in your pantry!

(2) They’re customizable. Can’t take nut butter to school? Make these with sunflower seed butter or cream cheese instead! Don’t like raisins? Try currants or mini chocolate chips! Want a healthier cracker? Opt for whole wheat instead of regular Ritz crackers. Any round cracker of your choice will do!

(3) Halloween is often the kickoff to a holiday season filled with non-stop sugar, so it’s nice to create a savory festive treat for a healthy change! As a parent, I really try to limit our kids’ sugar intake where we can this time of year!

(4) They’re festive and versatile! Make these with your kids for an after-school snack, drop them in lunchboxes, or serve them at the class Halloween party!

(5) Your kids will love making these with you!

If you’re looking for more healthy Halloween snack ideas you can make with your kids, check out my segment that aired on KTLA-TV last year, below, or read my blog post here.

Watch me share these Spider Crackers along with other healthy Halloween snack ideas on KTLA-TV in Los Angeles!

Spider Crackers Recipe

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Spread nut butter, seed butter, or cream cheese on two crackers thick enough to hold pretzels
  2. Break 4 pretzels in half
  3. Place the 8 half pretzel sticks around one cracker to resemble spider legs
  4. Top the cracker with the second cracker to secure the legs and make a sandwich
  5. Dip 2 dried fruit pieces in the nut butter or cream cheese and stick them to the top of the spider cracker sandwich to resemble eyes
  6. Enjoy! Store in an airtight container for up to a week
I used regular peanut butter and raisins for this Spider Cracker, but you could also try cream cheese and mini chocolate chips!

Let me know if you try these Spider Crackers and what ingredients combination you choose to use! For more easy recipes and fun ideas for the family, be sure to follow me on Instagram and TikTok!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Non-Candy Halloween Treats

Health & Wellness, Home, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby

Blake’s Seed Based Rice Crispy Treats are a yummy (and healthy!) treat for the whole family!

First of all, I know many of you may have read the headline for this blog post and rolled your eyes… Look, I’m a kid who grew up in the late ’80s and ’90s (Gushers! Mountain Dew! Pop Tarts! Sugar on top of SUGAR!), and I promise you that I’m NOT ready to give up the tradition of genuine TREATS for Halloween! What is Halloween without candy, anyway?! But, as I review the holiday activities we have planned this month… WHOA… it’s major compared to when I was a kid! We don’t just have a class Halloween party and the classic trick-or-treating… We also have the pumpkin patch visit, the multi-family immersive Nights of the Jack experience, our local YMCA trunk-or-treat… and I’ve already said no to a few other local Halloween festivities that include kids getting treats! I realized that if we don’t take the time to be mindful of moderation, the candy exposure can get really out of hand!

So, here I am… being that annoying healthy mom that I used to roll my eyes at before I had kids. I assumed “her” kids drank kale smoothies for breakfast and their favorite treat was the olive bar at Whole Foods… Well, I’m here to tell you that my kids DO NOT drink kale smoothies for breakfast and my oldest wouldn’t touch an olive with a 9-foot pole. But, I do know that my kids can appreciate “treats” in forms other than candy, like nutrient-packed muffins, festive shaped foods and seasonal flavors!

I put together this list of non-candy Halloween treats for parents desiring to limit the candy craziness this year. Whether you want to create healthier habits for your family, dread the kids’ candy sugar high, or responsible for sending a non-candy treat to school for the class Halloween party, these non-candy Halloween treat ideas are great for parents who need an easy, individually wrapped goody this fall season! From pumpkin rice crispy treats to pumpkin dog treats, there’s something for the whole family to snack on and feel good about!

6 Non-Candy Halloween Treats for the Whole Family:

  1. Blake’s Seed Based Pumpkin Spice Rice Crispy Treats  

I have lots of memories around my mom making homemade rice crispy treats and purchasing the prepackaged cereal treats to put in my lunchbox as a kid. These are EVEN BETTER! Blake’s Seed Based Rice Crispy Treats come in many yummy flavors like strawberry, birthday cake, chocolate chips, and now PUMPKIN SPICE! Blake’s is the very first vegan rice crispy treat on the market, so it’s the perfect allergy-friendly trick-or-treat candy. They’re 90 calories, only have 7 grams of sugar, nut-free and gluten-free! If you live in Southern California like me, you can find Blake’s Seed Based Rice Crispy treats available in local Sprouts stores, or you can shop the snacks online at Amazon or on the company’s website.

Blake’s Seed Based Rice Crispy Treats are a perfect treat for Halloween!

2. Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Chips Ghosts & Bats   

We already eat Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Chips in our house as a better-for-you alternative to regular fried potato chips, so I was really excited that the brand came out with Halloween chips in spooktacular shapes! Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Chips Ghosts & Bats have the crispy crunch and flavor you want in a snack, but without all the artificial flavors and artificial preservatives that you don’t. The seasonal chips are packaged in individual-sized bags that are perfect for trick-or-treaters, classroom parties, or lunchbox treats. They are available in major retail stores across the nation, as well as online and Amazon, sold in individual bags or packs of 24.

My kids’ treat bags filled with Sensible Portions Veggie Chips Ghosts and Bats!

3. Bobo’s Pumpkin Spice Oat Bites  

I often get frustrated with store-bought muffins and snack bars, because the ingredients show that they may as well be cupcakes and candy bars! Not Bobo’s! The Bobo’s brand offers delicious, simple, handmade 100% whole grain oat bites and snacks and released a brand-new pumpkin spice flavor just in time for the holidays! The slow-burning oats give kids clean energy that won’t leave them with a crash, while satisfying their sweet tooth. Each bite is non-GMO, gluten-free and plant-based, and there’s a variety of flavors in addition to pumpkin spice, like apple pie, chocolate chip, coconut, lemon poppyseed and peanut butter & jelly! You can easily find them at your local Kroger flagship, Whole Foods Market, or Target and online at Amazon

4. Bare Baked Crunchy Apple Chips  

Nothing says fall like apple harvest season, which is the perfect reason to pass out Bare Baked Crunchy Apple Chips to trick-or-treaters!  Bare Baked Snacks are real apples baked into deliciously crunchy chips and never fried. The apple chips are non-GMO verified and have no added oils or preservatives. They’re sold at select retailers, or you can purchase in multi-packs online at Target and Amazon

5. Dole Mandarin Orange Jack-O-Lantern Fruit Cups  

Get a little crafty by turning Dole’s Mandarin Orange Fruit Cups into cute Jack-O-Lanterns! All you need is a black sharpie to draw a Jack-O-Lantern face on the cups! Bonus if you decide to add the green pipe cleaner for a stem! These are the perfect festive snack for a class party! Dole Fruit Bowls Mandarin Oranges in 100% Juice are made from the best sun-ripened fresh fruit that nature has to offer, and they’re non-GMO and naturally gluten free. Dole Fruit Bowls are available at all major grocery stores or you can get multipacks on Amazon.

6. Greenies Dental Treats, Pumpkin Spice Flavor  

If you want to share holiday treats with your furry family members or pass out treats to dogs trick-or-treating with kids, Greenies Dental Treats for dogs has launched a puppy-approved pumpkin spice flavor!  The unique texture of Greenies Dog Chews cleans down to the gumline to fight plaque and tartar and freshen breath. The treats are sold at Target, Amazon and Chewy.

Would you share these festive treats with your family? I’d love to hear what other better-for-you store-bought treats you pass out at Halloween! Please share with me in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

6 Healthy Halloween Snacks

Health & Wellness, Home, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby
6 healthy Halloween snacks that are easy and fun to make with your kids!

Got a picky eater? I’ve found the best way to get my kids to eat healthy is to get them involved in the kitchen with me! And, what better way to celebrate the spooky season than with fun Halloween inspired healthy treats! From green goblin smoothie bowls to spider crackers to boo-tiful mini cupcakes, these 6 snacks are so easy and fun to make! Plus, they’re too yummy not to eat! Your family will love spending time in the kitchen together this fall recreating these spook-tacular snacks!

I was so excited to feature these healthy Halloween snacks on KTLA Morning News with anchor Jessica Holmes, who’s a mom and food lover like me! Check out our video, below, for all the tricks to make these treats!

Watch me share Healthy Halloween Snack Ideas for Kids with KTLA Morning News Anchor Jessica Holmes!
Green Goblin Smoothie Bowls

Halloween Snack Idea #1: Green Goblin Smoothie Bowl

Adding spinach into smoothies is one of the easiest ways to get kids to eat their greens! And, you can’t taste the spinach – promise! For this Green Goblin Smoothie Bowl, make a green smoothie, pour into a small bowl, and have your kids toppings like granola or coconut for hair, dried fruit like raisins, dates or cranberries for the eyes, and pumpkin seeds or marshmallows for the smile. Kids have lots of fun decorating their green goblin face! 

Here is my favorite easy Green Smoothie recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup water (or almond milk or oat milk)

Instructions:

Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately.

Peanut Butter Spider Crackers

Halloween Snack Idea #2: Spider Crackers

Have your kids help assemble these spooky spider crackers made with round crackers (I like Ritz Whole Wheat Crackers), pretzel sticks, peanut butter (or another nut or sunflower seed butter) or cream cheese, and small dried fruit, like raisins or blueberries. 

Ingredients:

  • Round crackers
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Peanut butter (or your preferred nut/sunflower seed butter) or spreadable cream cheese
  • Small dried fruit like raisins, blueberries, cranberries, or Wilton Edible Candy Eyeballs

Instructions:

  1. Spread nut butter or cream cheese on two crackers thick enough to hold pretzels
  2. Break 4 pretzels in half
  3. Place the 8 half pretzels sticks around one cracker to resemble spider legs
  4. Top the cracker with the second cracker to secure the legs and make a sandwich
  5. Dip 2 dried fruit pieces in the nut butter or cream cheese and stick them to the top of the spider cracker sandwich to resemble eyes
  6. Enjoy!
Clementine Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts

Halloween Snack Idea #3: Clementine Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts

These fruity treats are so easy to make and fun to eat! Peel clementines and cut celery into small sticks. Have kids add the celery sticks to clementines as stems to make pumpkins! Peel bananas and cut in half. Have your children add mini chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth to create ghosts!

Spooky Grilled Cheese

Halloween Snack Idea #4: Spooky Grilled Cheese

Turn everyone’s favorite lunch into a frightful treat with Halloween shaped cookie cutters and dark rye bread! You can use wheat or white bread, but the dark rye bread is much more spooky! Plus, my toddler surprisingly loves it! Because of its color, he calls it “chocolate bread,” even though it tastes nothing like chocolate! Your kiddo will have lots of fun using cookie cutters to make ghosts, bats and pumpkins in their bread, but I recommend leaving the stovetop cooking to parents!

Ingredients: (makes 1 grilled cheese)

  • 2 slices dark rye bread
  • 1-2 slices of pre-sliced cheddar cheese (depending on how cheesy you like your sandwich!)
  • Butter

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter over medium high heat in pan on stovetop.
  2. Take one slice of bread and use Halloween cookie cutter to cut shape into middle of bread. Butter one side of the bread cut-out bread.
  3. Take the other slice of bread and butter one side.
  4. Place both slices of bread in pan with the buttered side up.
  5. After cooking for a couple minutes and letting the bread get to your toasty preference, flip both sides of bread to cook the other side. Immediately place cheese on the slice of bread without the cut-out.
  6. Continue cooking until cheese is melty.
  7. Place cut-out side bread on top of cheese and press down so the cheese sticks the slices together.
  8. Serve and enjoy!
Creepy Eyes Cereal Bar

Halloween Snack Idea #5: Creepy Eyes Cereal Bars

Add funny eyes to pre-made cereal bars (or my favorite 3-ingredient cheerio bars seen here!) by rolling cream cheese into tiny little balls and adding a mini chocolate chips for eyes. If you’re low on time, it’s fun to add these eyes to anything pre-made, like muffins or frozen waffles!

Halloween Snack Idea #6: Green Halloween “Cupcakes”

My toddler loves these green “superpower” muffins, made with spinach, bananas, rolled oats and sweetened with honey! I love the ghastly green vibes of these for Halloween! Top with Nutella spread for “icing” and have your kids add Halloween sprinkles to make healthy-ish cupcakes! 

Which healthy Halloween snack do you want to try with your kiddos? Let me know in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram @maggiehjackson!

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.