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Healthy Treats for a Happy Halloween

Oct 28, 2014

By Dean George

October is a fun month, isn’t it? There are family visits to the apple orchard to pick succulent fresh apples, the delight of making s’mores over campfires, and the palette of vibrant-colored mums decorating porches and yards in cities, villages and farmsteads.

There is also the ecstasy of biting into the first caramel apple of the season, the bluest of blue skies and the crispness of evening temperatures that hint at the promise of Jack Frost. And let’s not forget the hayrides, bonfires, and the majesty and excitement of college football on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

And just when the autumn foliage becomes resplendent in a dazzling array of gold, red, green and yellow, it’s as if pumpkin patches refuse to be outdone and seemingly overnight sprout giant round orbs of orange joy. 

And of course there’s Halloween. This month we've written about the history of trick or treating and how dentists and kids donate Halloween candy to our troops overseas.

Wherever our military men and women are deployed, they generously share most of the donated candy with local children. Of the thousands of pounds collected by groups like Operation Gratitude in the annual Halloween Candy Buy Back program, it also provides those same troops sweet reminders of home. Homes they've unselfishly left behind to protect us from abroad.

I like to imagine they use any unwanted candy as fruit-flavored mortar shells and chuck them at terrorist types.

Anyway, today we wanted to share a few words about healthy alternatives to the traditional Halloween candy. You know the type: the sour candies, untamed gummy bears and sugar-laden chocolate bars that promise to give an 8-year-old a sugar rush lasting from now to when they leave their parents’ insurance plan in 2032.

Pretzels and Popcorn Pretzels provide 14% of our recommended daily requirement of iron and are a good tasty source of dietary fiber. Lightly buttered popcorn is naturally low in fat and calories, is sugar-free and is also a good source of fiber. Popcorn is also good as a snack food and provides energy-producing carbohydrates.

Nuts and Trail Mix As previously reported in this blog, nuts are good teeth protectors because they help us manage a healthy pH balance in our pie hole. Sesame seeds are especially good for oral health because their calcium helps preserve the bone around our teeth and gums. If you plan on giving nuts to trick-or-treaters though, remember that about 5% of kids are allergic to nuts – and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

Dark Chocolate If the foods listed so far seem like something a Birkenstock-clad Ebenezer Scrooge living in Malibu Beach might hand out, not so fast. There’s also dark chocolate! Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and contains a healthy dose of tannins. Tannins help prevent tooth decay by lowering the acid production of oral bacteria that feeds plaque. And because dark chocolate contains more cocoa than milk chocolate, it also whitens teeth.  And speaking of chocolate…

Dried Figs Dipped in Chocolate Figs are full of calcium for teeth, fiber, potassium and iron. They offer more health benefits than most dried fruits, and if dipped in dark chocolate they offer the benefits listed above plus plenty of “sweet” without all the harmful acidity most dried fruits do. C’mon – give a fig and don’t “figgit” about it this Halloween.

Organic Fruit Lollipops Yum Earth makes a yummy lollipop packed with good taste but without all the stuff that makes us suckers for eating them: artificial ingredients, high fructose corn syrup, colored dyes and gluten. For any kids dressing as carrots or broccoli spears this Halloween they are also vegan.

Cheddar Cheese Snacks Whether you eat stringed cheese snacks or prefer your cheese a little more rotund like the wax-wrapped Babybel cheeses or the Sharp Cheddar Snacking Bars by Cabot, cheese is a good source of calcium, phosphate and lactic acid that is a proven tooth decay fighter.  For kids that are lactose intolerant, cheddar cheese contains very little lactose but is still a great source of calcium.

Xylitol Gum Xylitol sweetened gum is all natural, contains no aspartame and actually aids in helping your teeth fight cavities. Xylitol not only has 40% few calories than sugar, but studies have shown that as little as 6 grams of xylitol daily helps reduce the acid-producing bacteria that causes tooth cavities. Epic Dental of Utah is a leading brand of Xylitol gum and offers it in four flavors: peppermint, spearmint, fresh fruit, and cinnamon.

Other popular alternative Halloween treats are cereal bars, animal crackers, Gold Fish crackers, graham crackers, sunflowers seeds, natural raisins, chocolate or yogurt covered raisins and even beef and turkey jerky. (I included turkey jerky to maintain the certification requirements of my poetic license to blog and rhyme.)

Whatever kind of treats you enjoy this Friday, remember to brush and floss afterwards to keep creepy cavities and ghoulish gum disease from haunting your oral health. And if you are spooked at the expense of visiting the dentist, click here to find affordable dental plans in your area. We think you’ll be surprised at how un-scary a good dental plan actually costs!

Thanks for reading today, and lets all do our part to make it a safe and happy Halloween. If ghouls and goblins once a year aren’t enough to excite you, follow us daily on Facebook, Twitter, PinterestGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

Photo source:

Copyright 2014, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC   

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