words by Kathleen Fleming
According to recent government statistics, approximately 30% of children aged between 2 and 15 in England are overweight or obese. For adults, the number is even worse – over 60%. Frightening. We all need to play a part in halting the obesity epidemic so when those trick or treaters come knocking on the eve of the 31st October, I am going to be prepared with some healthy but yummy treats. In keeping with the Halloween colour scheme of orange and black, here are my top five treats which won’t result in sugar comas.
1. Naked Chocolate Orange Bar
Gluten free, sugar free and vegan, these bars taste a lot like chocolate. The bars contain natural ingredients only (dates, raisins, cashews, cocoa and natural flavours). With the orange and dark brown wrappers, they fit perfectly into the Halloween colour scheme. A box of 18 bars costs £13.99 and can be ordered online from www.naturalbalancefoods.co.uk or you can pick them up at most supermarkets and health shops.
2. Rude Health Pumpkin Bar
This one has to be in your Halloween repertoire by virtue of its name. As well as being called “The Pumpkin” this bar is packed with goodness – nuts, seeds, ginger, cinnamon and pumpkin! This tasty treat can be bought from Planet Organic and health food stores for 99p each.
3. Orange and Mandarin Tingz
It is hard to find sugar free sweets that aren’t loaded with artificial sweeteners and colours. Tingz sweets are made with naturally derived ingredients and sweetened with xylitol which, according to the British Dental Health Foundation, is actually good for dental health. Unlike a lot of sweets, Tingz are suitable for vegans and they are gluten free. These sweeties get extra points as a Halloween treat because of their monster logo. Tingz are available online at www.tingz.co.uk and 9 bags cost £8.50. Individual bags are also available at Whole Foods and Planet Organic.
4. Lovechoc Goji and Orange Raw Chocolate
Lovechoc make a superfood-packed raw chocolate bar which is wrapped in environmentally friendly packaging. The dark colour of the chocolate and the hint of orange means it fits nicely into our Halloween hamper. These chocolates are also sweetened with coconut blossom nectar from the Javanese coconut palm tree blossom. Unlike many other sweeteners, coconut blossom nectar has a low glycemic index meaning it does not cause scary changes in blood sugar levels. Lovechoc can be bought at a lot of health shops for about £2.50 per bar.
5. Raw Carrot Cake Balls
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene which is converted into Vitamin A in the liver and Vitamin A is crucial for healthy vision – perfect for navigating the streets on All Hallows’ Eve. These raw carrot cake balls are quick, easy and healthy and can be put in little bags to hand out as treats.
1 cup roughly grated carrots
1 cup walnuts (broken into small pieces)
6 chopped dates
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried shredded coconut
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon liquid coconut oil
(Optional 85% dark chocolate)
Whizz together everything in your food processor. Once the mixture resembles a carrot cake mix (not too chunky, not too smooth), roll it into balls. The recipe should yield about 20 medium size balls which can be rolled in coconut or cinnamon or served plain.
For a more decadent treat, you can melt some dark chocolate and dip the balls in the melted chocolate. Put the balls in the fridge so the chocolate can set before serving.