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TRICK OR TREAT)

For many, Halloween is a fun day. Kids and adults dress up to pretend they are someone or something else. Baskets loaded with goodies―sugary sweet ones―highlight the evening for most children. It’s hard for a parent to explain to their three-year-old why they mustn’t eat all that sugar at once, especially before mealtime.

We could lament problems of too much sugar, but instead, let’s focus on alternatives. Changing times have made parents of trick or treaters more cautious about allowing their youngsters to accept homemade fares. But we can prepare healthy snacks for family and good friends. In close-knit communities, parents and children learn where to find safe treats and will look forward to your mouthwatering treasures.

For simple, healthy, and tasty treats, these Chocolate Peanut Butter Apricot Drops pack lots of nutrition that children and adults will love. And the real bonus? They are so easy to make. Even young children can help with parts of this preparation.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Apricot Drops

1/2                      cup margarine

1/2                      cup skim milk

1/2                      cup cocoa

1                          cup granulated sugar

1/3                       cup crunchy peanut butter 

1                           teaspoon  vanilla

3                           cups instant oats

40                        dried apricotsChocolate Peanut Butter Apricot Drops 1

 Place apricots in rows on a sheet of wax or parchment paper.  

Place margarine, milk, cocoa, sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla in a large microwave proof bowl or a two-quart measuring cup. Heat until margarine melts and sugar is dissolved, about two to three minutes. Stir mixture and add oats. Mix thoroughly. Drop cookie mixture onto apricots. 

Step 2

Let cool. Makes about 40 drops.

Serve plated or place in individual bags. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Apricot Drops

Halloween Drop Gifts

Keep a basket close by of varied healthy snacks for those who aren’t comfortable taking home-prepared foods. Let children choose from purchased individual treats such as:

  • Cereal bars
  • Miniature boxes of raisins
  • Individual packets of peanuts or other nuts (lightly salted if available)
  • Individually wrapped rice cakes
  • Selected packets of Nabs
  • Babybel or string cheese

Other great possibilities include fruit cups, small bottles of water, or other choices that come to mind.

Don’t forget about fruits. Who could resist these adorable little tangelo jack-o’- lanterns? Maybe fill a basket with these along with miniature bananas and small apples.

Jack o Lantern

There’s no reason for kids to miss out at your house. These interesting selections just may be the hit of the neighborhood. And remember how much healthier these little goblins will be as they grow into the next generation. Make this Halloween memorable. Scare away tricks of too much sugar with healthy treats. Yummy!

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October 31st is a fun time. Halloween, one of the world’s oldest holidays, mingles tricks of fictitious goblins and ghosts with treats of candy. Derived from ancient festivals and religious rituals, the holiday is a contraction of All Hallows’ Eve and remains a celebration in many parts of the world. In the United States, it is the second most popular holiday, after Christmas, for decorating, candy, and costume sales.

Puritan traditions in the early years of our nation restricted the holiday. During the 19th century, the migration of some two million Irish brought Halloween to the United States. Trick-or-treat became the main event of this holiday for children in our country and Canada. Children shuffle from house to house seeking goodies, especially candy. Both children and adults dress in costumes of favorite characters.

Commercialization of Halloween in the U. S. began around the turn of the 20th century. According to the National Confectioners Association, each year more than 75 percent of Americans plan to give candy to trick-or-treaters. And Americans’ favorite Halloween candy? Chocolate, of course, with candy corn in second place.

Halloween is the largest candy-eating event of the year. Other than gaining weight or developing tooth decay, are there dangers in eating too much candy? The American Chemical Society gave this some thought in 2016 and concluded that sugar from large amounts of candy consumed in one sitting might be lethal. The probability is unlikely since most would become sick before eating enough to harm them. Based on research and mathematical equations using rats, theoretically, 1,627 pieces of candy corn eaten in one sitting could be toxic to humans. One fun-size piece of candy has about 75 calories. Eating 262 pieces equates to about 20,000 calories. If it doesn’t kill you, your conscience may as you figure out how to work off those added pounds.

While dying from an overload of Halloween candy isn’t likely, use caution in making your choices. If you are over 40, consuming two ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks may cause irregular heart rhythm. The sweetening compound, glycyrrhizin, in black licorice may lower potassium levels in the body resulting in high blood pressure and other heart-related problems. This candy can also interact with medications, herbal products, and dietary supplements.

As you observe this special holiday of sweet treats, keep in mind the outcomes of eating too many sweets. Teach children about moderation. The American Heart Association warns against allowing them to have large amounts of candy. Set a good example and use discretion in how much you eat. Make the holiday a treat but avoid the trick of too many calories.

 

 

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Halloween is a special day in our household. No, we aren’t into ghosts or goblins. It’s our older daughter’s birthday. I quipped shortly after her birth and several sleepless nights, “I don’t know if she is a trick or a treat.” Through the years, I assure you she remains a delightful treat.

Whether to honor birthdays or celebrate Halloween, mixes made from popcorn make great treats. Unless you add salt and excessive butter or oil, popcorn is a low-sodium, low-calorie food with lots of healthy fiber. If you expect little goblins at your door tonight, you have time to whip up a nutritious snack. Place goodies into zip-closed bags.

October is Popcorn Popping Month. To find an enjoyable array of recipes and a fun website for Halloween or anytime, go to www.popcorn.org.

Have a happy, healthy day.

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Halloween is a mixture of Celtic, Roman, and Catholic holidays and rituals. The new year for Celts began on November 1. They believed the dead returned to earth on October 31 and caused trouble. To observe the holiday, Samhain, priest lighted sacred bonfires and Celts wore costumes to ward off roaming ghosts.  

In 43 A.D. Romans conquered Celtic lands extending from Ireland to northern France. Romans joined their fall festival of Feralia—commemorating the dead and honoring the goddess, Pomona, whose symbol was the apple—with the Samhain celebration. This may account for the “bobbing of apples” at Halloween.  

Christianity spread in the Celtic lands in the late seventh century. The Pope designated November 1 as All Saints Day—from the word Alholowmesse—to honor saints and martyrs. The celebration of Samhain the day before became All-hallows Eve, and eventually, Halloween.

Europeans migrating to America brought traditions with them. Ghost stories and mischief replaced remembering the dead. Celebrations moved toward community gatherings and home parties. In the early twentieth century, the religious tone waned and the holiday became secular.  

Marketing of costumes, parties, and special treats created a retail business windfall. Americans spend nearly $10 billion annually on Halloween, making it the second largest commercial holiday.

Because of its history, many find the holiday the antithesis of Christianity.  Churches and others celebrate October 31 with fall harvests, festivals, and organized fun for children.

However you perceive this occasion and choose to celebrate, more nutritional fare can replace the American custom of handing candies to trick-or-treaters. Better choices include sugar-free chewing gum, individual servings of boxed raisins, or offers of fresh fruit and nuts.

If you prepare your own treats such as granola mix, popcorn, or other nutritious goodies, put each serving into sealable sandwich bags. While this holiday is fun, help make it healthier for those little door-knockers and tiny spooks on your door step.

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