Kids and adults need to eat sweets every once in awhile. You can’t expect anyone to go through childhood without enjoying a cookie or a piece of cake as a treat. But the key word here is “treat.”

Above all, the treats you give your children—and yourself—should be made at home. Desserts and pastries sold at stores contain a lot more sugar than they should, along with other chemicals and oils of poor quality. And let’s face it—a cookie from scratch always tastes better than a store-bought one. If treats are for special occasions, make it truly special by making it yourself!

With Halloween celebrations this month, it’s a good time to put this concept into practice. Instead of picking up the store-baked cupcakes and cookies for school and family events, schedule a few hours with your child to make a homemade treat. You’ll be accomplishing three things: quality time with your child, teaching them to cook, and preparing a treat that is far healthier than a store-bought item.

Healthy Halloween Treat Recipes

Healthy ideas for Halloween treats can easily be found all over the internet. Here are a few that I think you and your children will enjoy:

Carmel Apples – just enough caramel to make it sweet.
http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/caramel_apples.html

Edible Eyeballs –  a fun way to get the kids to eat carrots!
http://spoonful.com/recipes/edible-eyeballs 

Strawberry Ghosts – A tasty treat that is sure to bring a smile.
http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/Strawberry-Ghosts 

Creative Veggie Platters – Turn eating veggies into fun.
http://www.365halloween.com/healthy-halloween-party-food 

There’s a Reason Why It’s Called a Treat

In my book,  The Step Up Diet: From Scratch…The Quality, Quantity and Timing Solution to Childhood ObesityI discuss how we need to rethink they way we look at food, providing comfort to our kids, and allowing treats at appropriate times and in proper amounts. Food gives pleasure—like ice cream on a hot summer’s day, but treats should be reserved for special occasions like birthdays or other holidays. They are not meant for everyday consumption.

About the Author

Dr. Katalenas

Dr. Katalenas is a pediatrician and owner of The Pediatric Center of Round Rock and the author of the book "The Step Up Diet: From Scratch… The Quality, Quantity, and Timing Solution to Childhood Obesity", a guide to healthy cooking and eating for busy families.