Pumpkin Spiced LatteTis’ the season for Pumpkin! The harvest fruit is everywhere – from Jack O’ Lanterns on every doorstep to pumpkin spiced lattes and pies in every store! Besides pumpkin being a great decoration and having a delicious flavor for sweets and treats, pumpkins are healthy and nutritious for you.

Pumpkins are a potent antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory food. Juicing them can be better for you (instead of the overly sugar treats). So, instead of a super sweet pumpkin treat — try a healthy twist to the pumpkin craze. The juicing experts at Juicepresso created a healthy twist to a pumpkin spiced latte which also puts to use the pumpkin meat from your Jack O’ Lantern.

The Pumpkin Spice Latte

Ingredients

1/2 small pumpkin (seeds, hard rind and stem removed), chopped
1 red apple
1 Meyer lemon, quartered
1-inch piece ginger, well scrubbed

Preparation

Once all fruits and vegetables have been prepared, pressed, and placed in a glass, top off your drink with a dab of cinnamon. Enjoy!

*Recipe and image courtesy of Juicepresso.*

Five Tricks for a Healthy Halloween

By Vanessa Chamberlin, author of The Fire-Driven Life

Halloween is such a challenging time for health-conscious parents. Everywhere we turn, people are offering the least nutritious, most sugary food around: candy! From classroom parties to neighborhood and family gatherings—there’s no way to avoid it. But if you are prepared and have some tasty, plant-based recipes in your toolbox, it will be a lot easier to partake in the festivities without overdosing on refined sugar. Plus, there are some easy tips (and tricks!) that can help you have a happier, healthier Halloween.

Always eat a healthy meal first. Whether it’s trick-or-treating or going to a party, make sure your kids go on a full stomach so they’ll be less likely to fill up on sugary snacks. On the day of school parties, make a filling, nutritious breakfast, and send them to school with extra special healthy lunches. Pull out your whole toolbox for this one! We’re talking cookie cutters for fun shapes, carving the fruit—everything. Your kids won’t want to miss out on this lunch, which will help them feel satisfied and loved all afternoon.

Send your own snacks. Whenever possible, send your own snacks. Even if you know that your children are going to be eating candy and cupcakes at their holiday parties, at least you can send them with some more balanced foods and encourage them to get their friends to try.

Enlist the help of some professionals! It never hurts to make sure a trip to the dentist falls before Halloween, and ask their help in making sure to explain to your kids why their dental health is so important, and how candy is bad for their teeth. It doesn’t have to be a big scary lecture, but just a simple reminder that a healthy smile starts with a healthy diet is a nice thing to reinforce.

Plan or attend a party that’s more in line with your lifestyle. Many of us have friends who understand why we’ve shaped our habits and lifestyles for healthy living, and they either do the same or are at least supportive and understanding. You don’t want your kids to feel left out, so if they’re not participating in other events, give them something else that’s fun. You might be able to get some of their close friends and families to join in, too. Not many parents like the idea of their kids getting a heavy dose of sugar either trick-or-treating or going to a party, so I’ve found it’s a welcome invitation when I invite people to celebrate holidays with us and have a nutritious night of festivities!

Finally, just talk about it beforehand. Let your kids know that you want them to have fun, but not eat lots of candy and junk that will make them not feel good. Ask if there is anything they would like to bring as a treat or eat before a party, and see if you can accommodate their requests. It’s so important for children to feel loved and respected as humans who have their own desires and opinions. Asking them to be involved in your holiday planning can go a long way!

For your healthy Halloween toolbox, here is a great recipe that kids love, and would easily fit into any festive party platter spread!

Gone in a Day Cookies

Ingredients

3/4 cup chunky peanut butter

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

2 TBS maple syrup (add more for desired taste)

1 cup raisins

Preparation

Combine peanut butter and coconut. In a separate bowl, combine cocoa, and maple syrup. Combine the two mixtures and add the raisins. Dough will be stiff. Roll into balls. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before serving.

Article courtesy of Vanessa Chamberlin, a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Lifestyle Coach and author of The Fire-Driven Life: How to Ignite the Fire of Self-Worth, Health, and Happiness with a Plant-Based Diet.

For more information, please visit, www.vanessachamberlin.com and connect with her on Twitter, @vkchamberlin.

*Image courtesy of Tina Phillips at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

This Halloween, offer trick-or-treaters healthier versions of favorite treats and snacks that they are sure to enjoy! “Mom” has compiled her picks for the upcoming festivities that are tasty and keep little ones away from overly sugary, processed treats. Both kids and parents alike will love these treats!

Pure Organic Fruit-and-Veggie-Strip-Strawberry-ApplePure Fruit & Veggie Strips

Hand out a healthy snack that both kids and parents will love this Halloween! The Pure Fruit Snack product line now offers Pure Fruit & Veggie Strips made with wholesome fruit and vegetable ingredients, with no added sugars, artificial sweeteners or preservatives. The Pure Fruit & Veggie Strips come in two yummy flavors including Strawberry Apple and Wildberry Apple. Our toddler gobbled them up, loving both of the delicious flavors! We were able to sneak in a bite of both and had to agree – they were really good!

Pure Fruit and Veggie Strips are certified organic, non GMO, vegan, gluten-free, soy free, kosher and made with fruit and vegetable juices and purees. The company uses no cane syrups or cane sugar, no artificial flavors or colors and the fruit snacks are produced in a peanut-free facility. The snacks retail for $1.09 for 1 bar/strip and $19.20 for a box of 20. Available at various Whole Foods nationwide, Sam’s Club or online at www.thepurebar.com.

Crispy Greens Crispy Fruit GroupCrispy Fruit Snacks from Crispy Green

Scare away the ghoulish consequences of unhealthy treats this Halloween by providing Crispy Fruit snacks from Crispy Green! Freeze-dried to perfection, these snacks are 100% pure fruit, nothing else! Kids love to munch on these delectable and satisfying treats – and so do moms and dads! With seven great flavors to choose from in convenient snack-size pouches, it’s a snack you can take anywhere and will be a welcome addition to any child’s trick-or-treat stash! These crispy little packs of delightful fruit were quickly devoured in “Mom’s” household, as they satisfy your snack attack with their light, crispy texture and fresh fruit taste. Our three year old loved the Pineapple, Asian Pear and Mango flavors the most! The best part is that you can recognize the fruit since it has been freeze-dried! Crispy Fruit Snacks contain no additives or preservatives, no fat or cholesterol, no skins or cores, and are Non-GMO Project Verified. At only 55 or less calories per serving, this is the ideal little snack to tuck in treat bags, lunch boxes, or backpacks! www.crispygreen.com

Justins Maple Almond Butter Snack PacksJustin’s Snack Packs

Hand out wholesome, tasty snacks this Halloween! Dip into Justin’s Snack Packs, which are sure to wow parents and kids alike. Each pack comes with gluten-free pretzels, in three decadent flavors, including Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, Maple Almond Butter and Classic Almond Butter. Yum! www.justins.com

Justins -BaggedMinisJustin’s Organic Mini Peanut Butter Cups

If you want to give out a healthier version to an old favorite, peanut butter cups, Justin’s Organic Mini Peanut Butter Cups are bite-sized treats of pure perfection for the candy lover in you that is looking for an organic treat to indulge yourself, I mean trick-or-treaters, in! According to Justin, “they’re every bit as tasty as my regular peanut butter cups with the added benefit of being smaller, more shareable, and let’s face it, more adorable.” Right now, Target is offering them in a bulk-size bag perfect for stocking up before Halloween, and if you use the Cartwheel App, you can save a bit, too! www.justins.com

Annie's Halloween Bunny GrahamsAnnie’s Halloween Bunny Grahams

We are crazy about Annie’s line of products at ‘Mom’s‘ house, so these single-serving packets that contain a mixture of honey and chocolate flavored bunny grahams made with organic wheat are perfect for handing out to tiny trick-or-treaters this year! Hopefully there will be some left over to tuck in lunchboxes next week, too! Annie’s Halloween Bunny Grahams can be found at Whole Foods Market as well as Target. www.annies.com

*Companies generously provided samples and images for this article.*

Pritikin Candy Corn Fruit CupLooking for more nutritious fare for Halloween entertaining? Try this recipe for a ‘candy corn’ fruit cup – it is excellent for a Halloween party or for a dessert any time of the year! It’s healthy, sweet, tangy, and super simple to put together. This makes a great activity for the kiddos, too!

‘Candy Corn’ Fruit Cup

Ingredients

2 cups mango cubes

2 cups clementine segments

2 cups fat-free, plain Greek yogurt

Top with zest of clementine

Preparation

Layer fruit in a martini glass and place the Greek yogurt on last, topped with the clementine zest. Yum!

Serves 4.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Chef Anthony Stewart, Executive Chef at Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa.*

Witch Hand 2Here’s a scarily healthy treat on Halloween! Fun to put together and almost too spooky to eat, these Pistachio Chewy Bite Witches’ Fingers are made with nutritious ingredients, such as pistachio kernels, almond milk and dried cranberries!

Pistachio Chewy Bite Witches’ Fingers

Ingredients

6 Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup non-dairy dark chocolate chips
Dash sea salt
12 dried cranberries
1/2 cup Setton Farms Roasted Pistachio Kernels, finely ground

Preparation 

Unwrap all chewy bites and cut each chewy bite in half lengthwise. Gently press the two halves together, with the stickiest sides facing each other, creating one long strip. If desired, to create thumb and pinky finger, leave two halves short. Set aside.

Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl.

In a small pan, bring almond milk to a boil. Pour over chocolate chips and let sit for about 20 seconds to melt chocolate. Add sea salt. Whisk until smooth.

Dip long Pistachio Chewy Bite strips into chocolate mixture and then sprinkle or roll in pistachios immediately. Place on wax paper lined plate and top each strip with 2 overlapping dried cranberries at the tip. Set aside for about 20 minutes to firm up.

Yields 6.

(C) Spork Foods, 2015

About Pistachio Chewy Bites
With two main ingredients, Pistachio Chewy Bites provide healthy snack lovers the amazing benefits of pistachios and cranberries in a delicious and nutritious bite-size bar. Pistachio Chewy Bites are heart-healthy, 100% all natural, gluten and dairy free, low in sodium, GMO free, vegan and a great on-the-go protein snack. They also have no cholesterol, zero trans-fat and are a good source of dietary fiber. These nutrient-rich snack bars provide a great balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat for sustainable energy. With 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and healthy fat, the individually wrapped bars are the perfect one stop shop.

Available in major grocery store chains across the country such as: Bristol Farms, Fairway, Shoprite, A&P, Roundy’s, HEB, Safeway, Ingles, Gelson’s, King Kullen, Earth Fare, Price Chopper, Wegmans, Save Mart, Lucky, Hy-Vee, Shop n’ Save, etc. They are also available online at Amazon.com and Puritan.com.

Pricing: 6-Pack $5.99 and 16-Pack $12.50
Website: http://www.pistachiochewybites.com

About Spork Foods
L.A.-based sisters and celebrity chefs, Heather Goldberg and Jenny Engel of Spork Foods are vegan chefs that own a Los Angeles-based gourmet cooking school. The culinary duo are also cookbook authors and work with some of Hollywood’s elite including Emily and Zooey Deschanel, Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, Kristin Bauer van Straten, and Alicia Silverstone.

Gluten Free Bites - Coconut Cashew CrunchA better for you mid-day snack (or who are we kidding, any time of the day)! Created by two gluten-free brothers and a pastry chef, The Gluten Free Bites are packed with protein derived from brown rice and pea protein plus offer a healthy dose of fiber. These perfectly-sized nutritious treats feature are made with wholesome ingredients and come in delicious flavors, including dark chocolate coconut, chocolate cherry almond, coconut cashew crunch, and new PB&J, dark chocolate peanut butter and dark chocolate hazelnut!

Certified gluten-free, vegan, Kosher, Non-GMO Project Verified, and made with all-natural and organic ingredients, each variety The Gluten Free Bites is also low in sodium, made with low glycemic natural sweeteners, and completely free of fillers, additives, wheat, soy, cholesterol, trans fat, casein and dairy.

Packaged in convenient bags, these are easy to tuck in your drawer at work for a quick and healthy treat. “Mom’s” favorite flavor was the coconut cashew crunch – YUM! You have most likely heard of The Gluten Free Bar, but these bites are definitely going to become your new go-to gluten-free snack!

To learn more about The Gluten Free Bites, visit their website at www.TheGFB.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this article.*