Many parents spend all year trying to control how much sugar their kids are consuming, only to have their efforts steamrolled on Halloween night. When it comes to added sugars, the stakes are high. Fortunately, there are alternatives out there.
The latest guidelines from the American Heart Association suggest that children should eat no more than 25 grams, or 6 teaspoons, of added sugar daily. “Added sugar” is the sugar manufacturers add to cereals, juices, jelly, salad dressing, and ketchup — and it adds up quickly.
As a matter of fact, the estimate that added sugar makes up 14 percent of the average person’s daily calories in the United States. This high sugar consumption, they say, could be fueling the childhood obesity epidemic and putting children at greater risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
So, what’s a parent to do? Start by cutting back. Added sugars are not the same as natural sugars found in fruit and milk, but when a label includes cane sugar, corn syrup, palm sugar, or high fructose corn syrup (among others), you may want to steer clear.
As for Halloween, these recipes prove that you don’t need excess amounts of sugar to have some spooky fun! Check out this list of goodies:
Better-Than-Mounds Chocolate Coconut Cups
Do your trick-or-treaters like Reese’s pieces or Mounds? It’s 2-for-1 with this recipe, which will also go down well with grownups. All Day I Dream About Food makes them with unsweetened coconut and a sweetener called Swerve.
Fruit is a great treat that happens to be sweet without added sugars, and this guide for making a “watermelon brain” is sure to bring the fun on Halloween. When your little ghouls get hungry, flip the brain and scoop out the insides!
Halloween Blueberries & Cream Mummy Cookies
These scary “mummies” from Sugar-Free Mom are wrapped in sugar-free white chocolate, and have little blueberries for eyes. Trick-or-treaters will love these!
Soft Pumpkin Cookies
Cookies are always a safe bet, for kids and adults alike! These little pumpkin cookies from Whole New Mom are sure to please. They use a sugar substitute, and would be a great sugar-free solution to take to the school Halloween party or pass out to trick-or-treaters.
4-Ingredient Caramel Apples
Caramel apples without sugar? Feasting on Fruit manages to make it happen using medjool dates in place of sugar. This recipe is sugar-free, raw, and vegan, so it’s perfect for many special diets.
These yummy pumpkin bars from Briana Thomas use stevia in place of sugar. The dessert is good for the whole season — it could just as easily be served at Thanksgiving dinner as a Halloween party!
Thai Spiced Deviled Eggs
Hosting a party? Deviled eggs always go quickly, and these Halloween-themed Thai-spiced eggs will be no exception. The filling is made to look like a pumpkin, making them cute in addition to delicious.
Witches Brew Breakfast Pudding
Halloween is a whole-day affair, and you can kick off your kids’ day with this scary-looking breakfast pudding. It uses fruit for sweetening and includes healthy ingredients like yogurt, pumpkin seeds, spinach, and flaxseeds.
Witches’ Finger Cookies
Here’s another great recipe from Sugar-Free Mom! Witches’ Finger Cookies are a spooky Halloween classic, but this version is both sugar- and gluten-free.
Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte
Parents shouldn’t go through Halloween without their own special treat, and here is a sugar-free pumpkin spice latte that won’t break the bank (or your sugar allowance). It uses stevia, pumpkin pie spice, and even a bit of canned pumpkin to make a rich, indulgent drink for a chilly fall morning.