RED Hearts: Healthy, Sweet Halloween Treats!

RED Hearts are guest posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today. Today’s RED Hearts post is from RED author Emily-Nicole Johns, 24, in NYC who offers up some great healthy alternatives to Halloween candy:

When it comes to Halloween, I love the costumes and the extra layer of eyeliner, but my favorites are the treats! Candy corn, monster pops, chocolate zombies, jelly brains, popcorn balls, and ANYTHING pumpkin-flavored. Sugar and chocolate are divine, but you can also incorporate some healthy alternatives into your diet of severed gummy fingers:

Peanuts: Peanuts have little to no additives or preservatives and are packed with rich omega-3 fatty acids that boost brain function. For Halloween, you can turn these nuts into creepy little menaces by spraying them with black food coloring and water and roasting them in the oven for 20 minutes at 250 degrees.

Pretzels: These twisted snacks are high in calcium and vitamin B, which can help your eyesight in the haunted house. One tasty way to work them into a Halloween party is to sandwich almond butter between two whole-wheat crackers and stick pretzel "legs" into the sides. Add raisins or craisins for eyes. Another fun and adorable option—pretzels dressed as pumpkins!

Pumpkin: Don't even get me started on how much I love a pumpkin. Pumpkins deliver vitamin C and fiber, and they enhance your immune system. The seeds are superstars as well. They help build stronger bones and are absolutely delicious when roasted and topped with savory or sweet seasonings. Tessa, a college student turned cookbook author has a wonderful (almost) healthy pumpkin chocolate chip square recipe.

Apples: Apples are straight up your friend. They’re full of fiber, promote weight loss and are good for the heart. When it comes to Halloween and this fruit, I'm right back at a haunted corn maze, dressed like a Power Ranger (pink, obviously) and eating one covered in candy or caramel! For a healthier, homemade version of the caramel apple we all grew up with, check out this AWESOMErecipe.

Popcorn: Popcorn is definitely one of my favorite snacks, all year round. And I just found out that it’s rich in antioxidants, which help protect our cells from toxins. Hellooo Poptober! Here are ten waysto put a spooky spin on it.

Now stop your Snicker-ing and have a happy, healthy Halloween!

RED Hearts guest poster Emily-Nicole Johns is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which is out in paperback.