Ask the Chef: Healthy Halloween Treats

by Julie Morris, Navitas Naturals Executive Chef
October 24, 2013

Healthy Halloween

Q: Can you recommend some ways to make healthy Halloween treats?

A: It’s that time of year again to trick those treats, and a DIY attitude is one of best ways to create indulgent recipes that are true sweet upgrades. Here’s how to make your Halloween sugar footprint a little less scary this year:

Use smart sugars: Empty calories often come from empty sugars – ingredients like white sugar or corn syrup offer absolutely no benefit other than their sweetening power, and can raise blood sugar levels dangerously quickly. In their place, use smarter sugars, like coconut palm sugar, which can be used 1:1 for can sugar in baking recipes, and is an incredible secret-sweet weapon that has half the glycemic index and provides trace minerals. On the liquid sugar front, maple syrup, or even better, yacon syrup, is a fabulous choice which also provides minerals, and creates less of a sugar “shock” to the body than something like corn syrup when consumed. When possible, look to try and reduce sugar levels further by adding sweet fresh or dried fruits to provide sweetness in a whole food form. And if you’re making drink recipes that call for sugar, rely on all natural sugar-free substitutes like stevia extract to boost the sweetness without adding any calories.

Incorporate healthy fats: Fat itself isn’t a bad thing, provided it’s in a form the body can benefit from. Healthy omega fats which support a healthy heart, skin and hair are found in oils made from seeds like hemp, chia, flax, and sacha inchi, and can be used in part to replace other types of oil. For baking, use coconut oil as a replacement for butter – not only does it function and taste similar within a recipe, but it provides a form of fat that the body can easily use for energy (and not just “store,” making it also a choice oil for weight loss). Or, try using nut and seed butters like almond butter in place of a spoonful or two of another type of fat that a recipe calls for – a quick way to add additional protein, fiber, and minerals.

Add superfoods: If you can’t take anything bad out from the recipe, consider adding something healthy in! Dried superfood berries and seeds make wonderful, simple additions to almost any kind of sweet treat, such as cookies packed with calcium-filled chia seeds or chocolates sprinkled with festive looking (and antioxidant rich) goji berries. When baking, it’s easy to replace a spoonful or two of flour with your favorite superfood powder blend to quickly boost the nutrition. And since it’s Halloween, don’t be afraid of mixing in a spoonful of your favorite greens powder to make an especially “scary” looking dessert, while getting a major dose of veggies at the same time.

Party ideas: For a extra-fast, kid-friendly idea, try rolling out your favorite healthy energy bar -- store-bought, or like our recipe for Green Energy Bars – and using small festive cookie cutters to create fun, uber-healthy treats. Or visit our cacao recipe page for a plethora of ideas on making chocolate sweets. Happy Halloween!


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