Have a Healthy Halloween!

In Balance RHN, Karen, loved Halloween as a kid – especially trick or treating! Her generous stash of sweet treats from relatively few houses was made to last until Christmas. Like many homes 50-plus years ago, candy was a treat, and not on the daily diet plan. Her childhood habits and “need for sweet” extended to her adult years: until five years ago. Learning, applying, and now teaching In Balance principles she loves to share healthy and delicious options for building healthy and happy homes, even at Halloween!

Times have changed since my years of Halloween trick or treating fun! Consumption for candy laden with refined sugar, chemical additives for flavouring, colour, etc. has gone over the top. It’s too often used as an addictive energy and feel-good spike and rarely considered a *sometimes food*.

Using three aspects of our BALANCE acronym, here are three ideas for how you and your family can still enjoy this All Hallows’ Eve!

1| Attitude and Emotion

Having a positive approach to help your child enjoy an annual event (at least in North America!) can be used as a learning tool on how to personalize your celebrations to fit your family’s personal health and wellness goals.

Decorating pumpkins, toasting pumpkin seeds, making healthy party food to share with family friends does take effort and time but adds value to the family’s “love and happiness vibes”.

2| Eating for Health

Healthy Halloween treats abound on Pinterest or other online sources. But to keep it simple and healthy, I’ll include recipes at the end of this post for Nut Butter and Honey BarsSunflower Seed Butter for nut-free option, and Apple Monster Smiles.

Will your children be joining the trick or treaters? If so, prepare a plan ahead of time for how you will deal with the stash of stuff that will get dumped out on the living room floor. Some suggestions:

  • Establish the non-negotiables that you will toss directly in the trash (i.e .brightly-coloured items that leave stains on your fingers and if they cost pennies to buy they aren’t worth the cost to your child’s health).
  • Set up a buy-back “store” – most kids like cash. If available and necessary, bring in support for this i.e. grand-parents.
  • Depending on their age, use the opportunity for label-reading to help understand the why behind not filling their bodies with junk. Get them to try pronouncing the names of ingredients on the packet. Can they do it? If not, it’s not a food (or more likely – chemical!) worth putting in their body.

Bump up the fresh vegetable and water consumption for the duration of the “treat-season” to protect your child’s immune system. Especially important on this cusp of seasonal flues and colds!

3| Laughter and Play

Kids love getting into costume and Halloween is an ideal time for parents and adults to jump into the act too. If it’s not your favourite thing, consider participating just for the fun factor AND for long term entertainment if you take photos and videos for the replay!

Find like-minded people to share the work, laughter and play of a party – you can plan (and manage) the healthy treats!

Definition of Sometimes Foods: Foods that we know are not good for us but that we choose, occasionally, under certain circumstances, to eat anyway.

Nut Butter and Honey Bars

nut butter bars








For a nut-free version, use Sunflower Butter (recipe below).

Recipe Credits: www.simple-balance.ca



1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup puffed millet or brown rice cereal
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 Tbs chocolate chips
1 cup nut or seed butter
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp real vanilla extract


1. In a large bowl, combine oats, cereal, coconut and chocolate chips.

2. In a small bowl, combine nut or seed butter (or combination of choice – I like half almond and half sunflower seed.)

3. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until well-combined.

4. Press mixture into greased or parchment-lined 8”x 8” pan.

5. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before cutting into squares. Store in refrigerator until ready to eat!

Sunflower Seed Butter

sunflower butter








Recipe Credits: www.OhSheGlows.com



3 cups raw shelled sunflower seeds
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 Tbs soft coconut oil
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (or 1 drop cinnamon essential oil)
1 1/2 tsp real vanilla extract


1. Toast sunflower seeds at 325F on baking sheet lined with parchment paper for about 9-12 minutes. Cool slightly.

2. Put coconut sugar in high speed blender and grind until it becomes a powder.

3. Spoon the toasted seeds into a high-powered food processor and process for a few minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

4. Add coconut oil and process: butter will clump into a ball, keep processing until it breaks down into a butter again.

5. Add the ground coconut sugar, salt and cinnamon. Process for another few minutes until smooth. Slowly add vanilla – can add more for taste. Add a little more coconut oil if you want it a bit thinner (not water or liquid sweetener – that will make it seize). Process about 8 minutes total for really creamy butter (time will depend on your machine – allow it to stop and start and scrape down the sides for as long as it takes to get it to your desired consistency).

Apple Monster Smiles

monster mouths









1. Cut a crunchy apple into 6 equal sections (or into 4 if using a small apple).

2. Cut a wedge about half-way into the section (start with a small cut, can always make it bigger if desired).

3. Slather a nut butter (peanut, almond or cashew) or seed butter (sunflower or pumpkin) on the two cut sides – the “gums” of the mouth.

4. Add nuts for teeth (slivered almonds, or cashews to look like fangs) or pumpkin seeds (nut-free version) or red gogi berries which would look quite ghoulish!

Karen Toews, RHN – “Real food matters!”

Karen Toews is an In Balance Consultant and RHN, in Nova Scotia. Karen believes that being well in body, mind and spirit is an on-going journey of commitment and time – starting with real food! You can find her online at www.realfoodmatters.ca

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