Halloween is all about free candy to most kids, but parents know that too much sugar is as dangerous to health as some poisons. Still, kids love those Halloween parties and something has to be on the menu. What are foods that kids will love and actually eat that won't cause obesity problems down the road or cause their teeth to decay?
- Fresh apples: Apples are in season in North Georgia, so this means they are crisp and juicy with natural sweeteners. For a party, it is perfectly fine to serve sliced apples with a caramel sauce for dipping. Coating the apple with caramel sauce and rolling it in coconut, crushed walnuts or other favorite topping is another option. The sweet stuff is minimal and apples are one of, if not the best foods for good health.
- Firm, ripe bananas: Kids are funny about bananas. They just won't eat them if they see a brown spot on it. Make sure the bananas are ripe, not over-ripe. Offer a selection of items to roll the bananas in after coating them with melted dark chocolate or peanut butter that has been microwaved with a tablespoon of olive oil for 30 seconds. Bananas can be rolled in crushed nuts, coconut, raisins or finely chopped fruits like apples or cherries. Freezing the bananas first will make them easier to handle.
- Grapes: Kids love grapes because they are the perfect finger food. The darker the grape, the more good stuff is in them. Serve grapes as is or in Jello.
- Avocado dip: Avocados supply the body with one of the best forms of needed fat. WebMD says avocados provide 15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat and other vitamins and nutrients. Add some homemade salsa, equal parts, mix well and serve with baked chips.
- Fat-free, low-calorie franks: Kids don't even notice that some brands of wieners use turkey as the base. Make sure the wieners are no more than 40 calories each and serve on whole wheat buns. The flavor isn't sacrificed by leaving out the fattening ingredients that are in high-calorie wieners. Roasting them over an open fire brings out the flavor best. Leave out the fattening canned chili.
- Crackers and cheese: Kids love cheese. Sharp cheddar is great served on low-fat crackers. By leaving out the fat, the crackers actually taste better.
- Papaya: Cut the papaya into chunks for dipping into melted dark chocolate or serve as part of a fruit salad.
Always make sure that no child at the party has a tree nut or peanut allergy before serving nuts. If available, fresh strawberries dipped in dark chocolate or real whipped cream, not Cool Whip, make an excellent party food. Even kids who aren't in love with fruit will eat them when dipped in chocolate.
Remember, kids are usually so excited at parties that they seldom sit long enough to eat a complete meal. Providing the food items in small amounts will help ensure that kids eat something good for them. Dried fruits and fruit chips are good choices to serve to kids who like them.