4 Tips for a Sugar-Free Halloween (Plus a Pumpkin Cookie Recipe!)

halloween-pumpkins

You’ve heard that eating a lot of refined carbohydrates can cause weight gain and inflammation while leading to a host of chronic diseases. Now that you’ve nixed sugar-laden treats, it can be a little tricky to get the whole family on board, especially when holidays like Halloween revolve around candy! Here’s what can you do to make Halloween fun for your whole family, without the cavities and sugar crashes.

Tip #1: Make your own treats, without the refined sugar. Sugar can hide under many different names, like corn syrup, honey, fruit juice and refined grains like wheat and rice. It’s best to avoid these highly processed forms of sugar in favor of naturally sweet whole foods like organic pumpkin, dates or bananas. Create decadent desserts with unrefined sugars as an occasional treat.

Tip #2: Carve pumpkins. Not every Halloween tradition is candy-centered. Take the focus away from the candy by spending time together as a family carving pumpkins! Pumpkins aren’t just an outlet for your creativity. They’re also a very nutrient-dense vegetable: roast the seeds for a healthy sugar-free snack.

Tip #3: Host a Halloween party or a scary movie night. If you host, you can control the food. Maybe whip up a batch of these delicious pumpkin cookie dough bites (recipe below) or warm and comforting baked cinnamon-spiced apples.

Tip #4: Hand out Halloween toys instead of candy as treats. Trick-or-treating is a great tradition, but not all of the treats have to be packed with sugar. Hand out glow sticks, spider rings or Halloween-themed stickers to the goblins and ghouls that visit you this year.

A healthy diet doesn’t mean you need to miss out on all the fun. Create some new traditions this year and get your whole family on board! With a little bit of planning, you can enjoy a healthy and sugar-free Halloween. Get started with the nutritionist-designed, doctor-approved recipe below!

Pumpkin Cookie Dough Bites

Serves 18

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp pureed pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

Combine almond butter, honey, vanilla and pureed pumpkin in a large bowl and mix until creamy.

In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients—almond flour, flaxseed, sea salt and pumpkin pie spice. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well.

Using your hands, thoroughly knead the dough. If your dough is too dry, add a teaspoon of water and continue kneading. If your dough is too wet, add a little bit more almond flour.

Use a tablespoon to scoop out the dough and roll into small one-inch balls. Refrigerate bites for 30 minutes before serving.

Variation: You can dust your cookie dough bites in extra cinnamon and shredded coconut for decoration, or you can fold in crushed pecans, dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs for a slightly different flavor and crunch.