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2 little girls dressed as witches knock on a door for Trick or Treat

Three healthy Halloween recipes to fight off the scary sweets

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Halloween may be lurking around the corner and, alongside it, the monster of the moment: sugary sweets and drinks – which have been linked to health issues in children frequently over the last year[1]. We asked dietitian Gaynor Bussell to help us create three healthy recipe alternatives to treat the kids this Halloween.

  • Eat the delicious brains of a kiwi zombie.
  • Create your own jack-o’-lantern smoothies.
  • Feel the chill with some banana ghoulies.

‘In July 2015, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition advised that the government halve the recommended intake of free sugars to help address the growing obesity and diabetes crises and to reduce the risk of tooth decay,’ explains dietitian Gaynor Bussell (@GaynorBussell), B.Sc.(Hons), RD, MBDA, RNutr (Public Health)[2].

‘Free sugars are those added to food – so sucrose and glucose – or those naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices.’

For children, the recommended daily intake is:

  • 19g or five sugar cubes for those aged four to six
  • 24g or six sugar cubes for those aged seven to ten
  • 30g or seven sugar cubes for 11 years and over

‘It should be stressed that how much sugar is in the diet is not the be all and end all of healthy eating in children,’ continues dietitian Gaynor Bussell. ‘The diet should also be nutritious and have the right balance of fats (in particular keeping down the saturated fats), carbohydrates (preferably wholegrain starches) and protein – and not contain too much salt.’

To help you reduce your kids’ sugar intake this Halloween, we’ve come up with three delicious recipes that make fruit the focus – but are still frighteningly fun.


Flaming zombie kiwi fruit with bubbling brains

Ingredients

  • A kiwi fruit per person
  • A marshmallow per person
  • 2 dark chocolate chips for each person

Utensils

  • A sharp knife
  • A teaspoon
  • A candle lighter
Cartoon image of a zombie

Method

  1. Peel most of the skin off two thirds of the kiwi using the sharp knife, leaving a ragged section at the top near the stalk - this is the zombie's hair!
  2. Cut a bit off the other end to the stalk so that the kiwi head can stand up.
  3. Slice off a section from the stalk end wide enough to fit in a marshmallow, but leaving enough hair.
  4. Using a teaspoon, dig out a hole in the kiwi that is large enough to fit your marshmallow so just the top is peeping out.
  5. Cut two small holes in for eyes and place a chocolate chip in each hole.
  6. With a candle lighter, light the marshmallow on fire and watch it bubble. It's probably best if you do this part for your kids.
  7. Once the marshmallow has cooled down, dig in!

Orange smoothie jack-o-lanterns

Ingredients

  • An orange per person
  • 20ml milk per orange
  • 3 ice cubes per person
  • Vanilla extract

Utensils

  • A sharp knife
  • A blender or food processor
  • A straw per person
  • A teaspoon
Cartoon image of a pumpkin

Method

  1. Slice off the top of the orange and carefully cut out the eye and mouth holes from one side of the orange, just as you would a Halloween pumpkin, without breaking through the white pith.
  2. Making sure not to break through the pith, dig out all the orange and put it into your blender.
  3. Add 20ml of milk for each person, and one drop of vanilla extract (try almond or coconut milk for a dairy free option).
  4. Add the three ice cubes.
  5. Blend the ingredients together until thick, but not too thick to pour.
  6. Pour back into each orange, making sure that none of it leaks through the holes you have made in the orange peel.
  7. Stick a straw in so that it looks like a pumpkin stalk, and start sipping (or use a spoon if it is a little thick!)

Desiccated coco-banana spooksticks

Ingredients (for four spooksticks)

  • 1 large, firm banana
  • 8 dark chocolate chips
  • 4 small dark chocolate buttons
  • 40g of white chocolate
  • 50g of desiccated coconut

Utensils

  • A butter knife
  • Lollipop sticks
  • A wide dish
Cartoon image of a ghost

Method

  1. Cut the banana in half at the middle.
  2. Cut each half-banana into half again, lengthways, so that you have separated it into quarters.
  3. Stick a lollipop stick into each banana to make banana lollies.
  4. Place the bananas into the freezer until frozen.
  5. Spread out a layer of desiccated coconut in a large dish.
  6. Microwave the white chocolate in a microwaveable bowl for one minute on high power, stirring regularly.
  7. Spread the white chocolate evenly over the curved side of each banana quarter.
  8. Before it sets, roll the banana quarter in the desiccated coconut.
  9. Stick a chocolate chip in for each eye and a button on for the mouth. using a bit of the white chocolate as a glue.
  10. Put the bananas back in the freezer for half an hour.

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