I am still recovering from the weekend- Halloween…trick-or-treating with 4 young children = so much fun! I loved seeing their excitement. We went to our neighborhood downtown where the local businesses hosted an early trick-or-treat event around 4:00pm. Then home and a quick stop for a bite to eat at our neighbors’ annual Halloween party and then off to trick-or-treat in our hood.
Saturday we had friends over for some Texas BBQ prepared by me and the hubs (I do all the sides and he smokes the meat). Then we celebrated my lil’ guy’s 3rd birthday! Sunday we took the kids to the zoo and opened presents, cupcakes and had family time in the evening. That coupled with the time change left me quite exhausted!
The kids ended up with a load of candy that we will figure out what to do with soon (i.e. give most away). I was surprised at how many people (according to their social media posts) weren’t going to pass out candy because of the childhood obesity problem in our country. Some people were going to pass out pencils, some were not going to partake in the tradition at all.
It’s funny because as a Dietitian you might assume I’d be one of those people (but not if you know me at all).
I get it, I do. It’s a tough because on one hand I believe the holiday Halloween is in no way responsible for childhood obesity. It’s a lifetime of habits, poor year round diet and lack of activity that contribute to obesity. On the other hand, kids receive so much candy for Halloween that they have enough to eat a couple pieces for a month or two. So…..should we not be passing out candy? I still think it’s the parent’s responsibility to guide their children to making the right choices….all the time.
Figuring out a plan with what to do with the leftover candy is the best idea. Let your kids pick some of their favorites, then donate the rest to a shelter, hand it out to the homeless, use it for crafts, save some for decorating gingerbread houses, throw some away!
I don’t think that the tradition of passing out candy has to stop. But then again, people like easy solutions and I am afraid that passing out pencils is not going reduce childhood obesity without addressing a lot of other issues. It would be kind of cool if half the people were assigned candy and half non candy treats like glow sticks, stickers and other healthy snacks! Anyway, just thought I’d share my thoughts and I’d love to hear yours.
But I digress….as none of this has to do with popcorn trail mix.
Today’s recipe is not exactly a recipe but an idea- trail mix is very popular around here and this is our few favorite combo that is slightly sweet, slightly salty and good for you! I usually pick 4 or 5 ingredients and combine them for a healthy snack. You can add whatever your kids like in any proportion you like!
What we’re loving lately:
Popcorn– this high fiber low calorie, low fat snack is perfect for kids and adults. It’s filling, gives you the satisfying crunching that we often like in snacks. If you don’t like to make your own there is an excellent Organic brand called Boom Chicka Pop that tastes like it’s popcorn straight off the stove top. There is controversy about microwave popcorn containing chemicals that are linked to health diseases like thyroid problems, high cholesterol and cancer. I occasionally buy an organic natural brand but lately I have just been staying away from it.
Walnuts- an excellent source of unsaturated, omega 3 heart healthy fats. Also high in fiber, protein, antioxidants, bone-healthy minerals like magnesium, copper, phosphorus and good-for-your-skin Vitamin E.
Sunflower Seeds- also high in protein, fiber, antioxidants and unsaturated fat, sunflower seeds are also high in Vitamin B1, magnesium and copper, Vitamin E.
Dried Strawberries- for a little sweetness, these plump dried strawberries do the trick. It’s true most dried fruit have some added sugar, including these, but in small portions I’d say it’s a better choice than adding candy to your trail mix. One quarter cup of dried strawberries provides 15% of the RDA for iron.
Other add-in ideas: apricots, dried cherries, cranberries or raisins, dried coconut, almonds, peanuts, cashews, pistachios, pretzels, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips.
- 6 cups popcorn
- ½ cup walnut pieces
- ½ cup shelled sunflower seeds
- ¾ cup dried strawberries
- Other add-in ideas: apricots, dried cherries, cranberries or raisins, dried coconut, almonds, peanuts, cashews, pistachios, pretzels, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips.
- Combine all ingredients and store in an air-tight container.
Questions: What are you doing with leftover Halloween candy? Did you pass out candy? What are your favorite trail mix add-ins?