Tricks to keep Halloween sweet — but not too sweet

Oh, the sweet treats that come from trick-or-treating, school parties and neighborhood gatherings on Halloween! Halloween actually is a great opportunity for kids to learn about moderation of tasty treats and that it’s okay to indulge in a few treats on Halloween. That is part of the fun. It’s our day-to-day, overall eating habits have the biggest impact on our health.

Here are tips and tricks to keep your Halloween sweet, but not too sweet:

• Eat a meal before trick-or-treating. Fill the family up with a meal or snack before heading out the door for trick-or-treating so they are less likely to raid their candy bags before getting home. Once they get home, the Green Monster Smoothie recipe below is a better-for-you sweet treat to offer before digging into treat bags.

• At get-togethers, offer non-candy treats such as fruit leather, trail mix, sugar-free gum, coins, pencils, stickers, glow sticks or even rubber spiders and worms. The Skeleton and Brain Dip recipe below is a fun way to encourage vegetables. Kids won’t be able to stay away from the skeleton — soon they’ll be fighting over who gets the sugar snap pea ribs and the carrot leg bones!

• Talk about how your family will use up the rest of the treats. When you do eat treats, try to include them as part of a meal rather than snack on them between meals. Agree on an amount of treats to enjoy and decide how long to keep the treats around.

Skeleton and Brain Dip

Lettuce leaves

1 cup ranch dressing

2 cups assorted cut-up fresh vegetables, such as bell pepper strips, cucumber slices, sugar snap peas, mushroom slices, celery sticks, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, broccoli florets and cauliflower florets.

Directions

Line a small bowl with lettuce leaves; fill with dressing. Place near one end of a large platter.

Arrange vegetables in a skeleton shape on platter, using the bowl as the head of the skeleton.

Recipe source: www.kraftfood.com

Green Monster Smoothie

1 cup kale, leaves only

1 cup fresh pineapple chunks

1 cup pineapple juice

1 frozen ripe banana

1 avocado

1 container Hy-Vee Light vanilla yogurt

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Process on high speed until smooth.

Recipe source:  Kimberly Proctor, RD, LD, Hy-Vee dietitian

Serves 2. Nutrition facts per serving: 210 calories, 7.5 g fat, 40 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 21 g sugars, 4 g protein.