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3 Healthy Candy Swaps for Trick or Treating

Written on October 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm , by

Consider handing out a little less sugar. (Photo by Bryan McCay)

Happy almost-Halloween! Outside of the topic of costumes, the next important topic revolving around this ghoulish holiday is, of course, the candy.

With two kids, we’ll be hitting up the trick-or-treating circuit. I don’t know who will get more, but I do know that in either case it’s. A. Lot.  Estimates suggest kids eat about 3 cups worth of candy on Halloween night alone.  That doesn’t even speak to the leftovers for the next week or so!

If you and your family want to enjoy candy, enjoy candy. Our girls will, within reason. We usually have them pick their 5 favorites and then toss the rest.

But candy isn’t just coming into the house. Sometimes it just stays there, never leaving. After all, who’s guilty of buying too much candy when they invite trick-or-treaters to their doorstep? I know we have. For a fighting chance in the battle of the bulge, consider picking some better-for-you choices this year. That way, when your neighborhood kids don’t come in droves like you expect, you’ll still have some goodies to munch on (nom, nom, nom). Need some ideas? These are the 3 we’ll be offering:

Wonderful Pistachios. These are a go-to Halloween giveaway for us.  It started last year when our then-3.5-year-old saw the little bags in the grocery store and wanted some.  Always happy to oblige when she asks for quality foods, we picked them up. To our surprise, we actually had several kids thank us for giving something different, and their parents were equally as happy.  Less sugar highs! They can be found in a 1-oz. bag, providing just 80 calories of nutrient-rich goodness without any added sugars.

POM POMS are new treats we’ll try this year, now that they’re for sale in convenient individual containers. Handing out fresh pomegranates might be a bit weird, so these prepackaged seeds are ideal. POM arils (the edible seeds) are nutritious, delivering nutrients like vitamins C & K, potassium and fiber, among others.  They’re crunchy.  They’re sweet.  And they’re nice for variety to move away from the typical candy.  The downside: they can be messy, so help your kids eat them (and steal some for yourself to enjoy in cottage cheese, Greek yogurt or just as a plain snack).

Justin’s 80-Calorie Nut Butter Packs.  OK, these might just be a bit too addicting.  I was recently introduced to them at the Annual Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Conference. They’re convenient, healthy and packed with nutrition.

Now while you might be thinking our house will get egged, last year when we gave out Pistachios and mini Clif Bars, we actually had several “thank you’s” from parents…and even their kids. Think about it, and enjoy your trick or treating!

Related: Get more nutrition and women’s health advice from Chris and Kara Mohr. 

Vamp Up Your Halloween Party with Four Spooky, Low-Cal Cocktails

Written on October 25, 2013 at 12:03 pm , by

Spooky cocktails can still be waistline-friendly. (Photo courtesy of Chambord)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Halloween is the one night of the year when we can wear outrageous costumes and embrace silly fears without shame. But candy overloads, junk food binges and high-calorie adult beverages can follow us well into November, threatening the holiday party body we all work so hard to achieve. Luckily, we found these four creepy cocktail recipes: all are under 250 calories, so you can party on guilt-free. Do you dare?

Vampire Kiss Martini

Calories: 225

  • 1 ½ ounces Finlandia Vodka, chilled
  • 1 ½ ounces Korbel Champagne
  • ¾ ounce Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur

Rim the glass with red sugar (use food coloring) or drop in a set of wax vampire teeth for a real surprise. Pour vodka and half of the Chambord in a martini glass, top with Champagne and pour the remaining Chambord over the back of a spoon to make it float.

Recipe courtesy of Chambord

Piña Ghoul-ada

Calories: 100

  • Skinnygirl Piña Colada
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoons red food coloring

Pour the corn syrup in a shallow bowl and add a few drops of red food coloring. Stir with a toothpick to combine. Holding a glass by the stem, dip the rim into syrup mixture and turn the glass, coating the entire rim. Flip glass upright, allowing mixture to drip down the sides. Repeat for desired number of glasses. Pour chilled Skinnygirl Piña Colada into prepared glasses and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Skinnygirl Cocktails

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Music Monday: Your Halloween Workout Mix

Written on October 31, 2011 at 10:07 am , by

Before the trick-or-treaters arrive, take a festive jog with these tunes as your soundtrack! (Photo courtesy of iStockphoto)

Since it’s Halloween, we decided to add a little fun to our workout playlists with some spooky songs. Don’t worry, we’re not going to tell you to blast “Monster Mash” at  the gym—unless you want to!—but we just couldn’t resist adding M.J.’s “Thriller” into the mix.

We think this would be perfect for the Pumpkin Workout!

Now tell us: What songs put you in a festive mood this last day of October?

Fit Links: Halloween Costumes, Songs and Sugar

Written on October 28, 2011 at 4:26 pm , by

Don't just use them for decorations! Pumpkins pack plenty vitamin A and C. (Photo courtesy of Alloy Photography/Veer)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Carve Your Body—Not Just Your Pumpkin—This Halloween

Written on October 27, 2011 at 2:40 pm , by

Try the lurking lunge—it works your core, upper and lower body all at once! (Photo courtesy of NYSC)

Halloween is traditionally celebrated with more sweet treats than sweat sessions. The biggest workout many of us get on October 31 is from walking the kids from door to door in their cute costumes to trick-or-treat! But why not squeeze in a little strength training before you steal a few M&Ms or pieces of candy corn from the stash? (Hey, even Joy Bauer says it’s OK to splurge on five fun-sized items!)

New York Sports Clubs (NYSC) is offering a “Carve Your Body Pumpkin Workout” class to help Halloween revelers find a healthy way to enjoy the day. Members and non-members are welcome to attend a free holiday-themed class at the NYSC location on 41st Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan tomorrow or Monday at 2 p.m.

But if you’re not in the area, simply grab one of your uncarved pumpkins (or feel free to substitute a medicine ball for the pumpkin to do any of these moves year-round) and try this circuit at home.

  • Lurking Lunges: Stand in a split stance with right leg in front, left leg in back. Holding a pumpkin, extend arms in front of you. Bend knees and lower into a lunge, keeping front knee behind the toe. At the bottom of the move, rotate core 90 degrees to the right and then 90 degrees to the left. Do 20 reps.
  • Tombstone Twist: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and pumpkin in hands. Extend arms so pumpkin is at chest height. Rotate arms from and upper body from side to side, pivoting your opposite foot for more range of motion. Do 20 reps.
  • Creepy Crunches: Lie on your back with hands holding a pumpkin over your chest, with knees bent and feet flat on the floor about two feet apart. Lift legs vertically, toes pointing toward the ceiling. Lift your shoulder blades off the ground and extend pumpkin vertically toward toes. Do 20 reps.
  • Repeat circuit of lunges, twists and crunches twice more.

 Now tell us: Do you plan to exercise on Halloween?

Spook Trick-or-Treaters With These Festive Treats

Written on October 19, 2011 at 4:25 pm , by

Break up the trimmed off corner brownies to create a look that resembles a dirt-filled graveyard. (Photo courtesy of Sun-Maid)

Ah, Halloween. It kicks off the so-called “eating season” (including Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas and more) and is a holiday that basically revolves around massive quantities of sweet treats. So how do you stroll into November in the same pair of jeans you’re wearing today?

“Don’t buy your Halloween candy until October 30—it’s too torturous to have it around the house,” says Joy Bauer, R.D., The Today Show nutritionist and author of Joy Bauer’s Food Cures. And rather than popping one fun-size bar after the next, “stick with longer-lasting treats like lollipops, or freeze a few pieces of dark chocolate so they melt more slowly while you eat them,” Bauer suggests.

Her top tip: “Give yourself an amount of candy you’ll enjoy around Halloween, say five snack-sized pieces, and pick them strategically to make them last. This way you won’t miss all of the festivities, but will be doing your waistline good.”

You can also eat festive treats that pack a little nutritional punch, like roasted pumpkin seeds or non-fat Greek yogurt mixed with a dollop of canned pumpkin (a couple of Bauer’s favorites) or these fun brownies, courtesy of Sun-Maid.

Halloween Tombstone Brownies

Serves 18 to 24

  • 3-ounces (3 squares) unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins
  • White icing tubes, pens or homemade and transferred to a pastry bag
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 x 9 or 9 x 13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine chocolate and butter in a large saucepan. Heat over low heat until melted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in sugar; mix well. Add eggs and vanilla; blend well.
  4. Mix in flour and raisins until evenly combined. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake 9 x 9-inch pan for 25 to 30 minutes or 9 x 13-inch pan for 18 to 22 minutes, until top feels set when gently touched. Cool completely.
  6. Cut brownies with a sharp knife into approximately 1-1/4 x 2-1/2-inch pieces. Cut rounded corners on one short edge to shape a tombstone.
  7. Decorate tombstones with icing as desired. Arrange tombstones upright on tray to create graveyard (apply small amount of icing on bottom of brownies to stick to tray if necessary).

More from FITNESS: Candy-Coated: What You Need to Know About Your Favorite Sweets