October 25, 2012 by thehealthyheartcenter
It’s that time of year again! When the sugary candies and desserts tempt us everywhere we turn. For those with a sweet tooth, we all know how hard it can be to resist feeding that craving and keeping from unwanted weight gain. Luckily, there are healthier alternatives to offer more nutritional treats this year.
· At the Door
-Step away from the candy aisle! Instead of handing out chocolates and candies, offer choices such as fruit and nut bars, peanut butter crackers, small boxes of raisins, cereal bars (without the sugar coatings!), or mini bags of microwave popcorn. These options keep to a better balance of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates, while avoiding the sugar overload.
· On the Table
-‘Tis the season to eat fall produce! Winter squash (pumpkin, acorn squash, etc.) offers multiple health benefits such as reducing risk for cancer, heart disease, type 2-diabetes, and obesity. It is also thought to lower blood pressure due to its high potassium content, as well as reducing risk of kidney stones, and preventing bone loss.
Add it to your diet in these easy ways:
1. Incorporate pumpkin by adding it to your favorite baked good recipes in place of oil. Fresh pumpkin pureed with water or canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) can be used in a 1:1 ratio instead of oil. If the recipe calls for ½ cup oil, use ½ cup pumpkin instead.
2. Fold canned pumpkin with low-fat whipped topping and enjoy alone as a creamy dessert or paired with angel food cake.
3. Swap pasta noodles for spaghetti squash. Simply cut a whole spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds and pulp, place squash cut-side up on a cookie sheet, and bake it in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until it looks like it’s starting to dry out and you can easily insert a fork into the flesh.
· Alternatives to Food
-Get creative! Trick or treating does not have to be fixated around sweets. Instead, hand out small toys or other items that children can enjoy. Consider glow sticks, bottles of bubbles, tiny decks of cards, plastic spider rings, temporary tattoos, beaded necklaces, bracelets, bouncy balls, or even character band aids. Mini coloring books or activity pads from discount stores are also great for school-aged children.
Holiday’s don’t need to be an enemy for your healthy eating. Try out different alternatives and see what works for you and your family. It’s just one day of the year… don’t be scared to enjoy it!