Tricks for healthier Halloween treats

Halloween is one week away and if you’re just as excited about Halloween as your kids are, but not so excited about a day of sugar there are some smarter tricks for treats.

The average American eats 3.4 pounds of candy over Halloween. Nutrition professor Christina Meyer-Jax shares her ideas for how to avoid some of it, but still satisfy your taste buds.

Power Up Apple Spice Muffins

This health-ified fall favorite is high on flavor, fiber and protein.  With the focus on using applesauce, pureed beans and seasonal spices you won’t notice the reduced sugar in these delicious muffins that will keep you satisfied until lunch.


1 (15oz) can S&W® Pinto Beans, drained, rinsed
2 Tbsp. of butter softened (reduced from ¼ cup)
1/2 cup sugar (reduced by ½ cup from original recipe)
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 whole egg + 1 egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour (or all purpose Gluten-Free Flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups cored finely diced apples (2 small apples)
1/2 cup raisins or craisins (optional)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts


Heat oven to 375°F. Prepare 12 count muffin tin (or works for 8 or 9-inch square pan if you prefer cutting into bars) with cooking spray. In food processor, combine beans, butter, and applesauce. Cover; process 15 seconds or until finely chopped. Add sugar, eggs and vanilla. Cover; process 20 seconds or until smooth.

In large bowl, combine flour, soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt and nutmeg; mix well. Stir in bean mixture, blending well. Fold in apples, dried fuit and nuts. Spread evenly in muffin tins or pan. Bake 20-35 minutes depending on pans used or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes. Serve warm or cool.

Recipe adapted from:

Meatballs with Pumpkin Barbecue Sauce 

1. 1 tablespoon dairy-free/grass-fed butter or ghee
2. 1/4 cup minced onion
3. 1 tablespoon minced garlic
4. 2/3 cup ketchup
5. 2/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
6. 1/2 cup water
7. 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
8. 2 teaspoons mustard of choice (I've used honey or dijon)
9. 1.5 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
10. 1/2-1 tablespoon coconut sugar, maple syrup, or brown sugar (to taste)
11. Generous pinch of the following spices (to taste)—
12. -salt
13. -pepper
14. -paprika
15. -cayenne pepper
16. -pumpkin pie spice (optional)


1. 1.25 lbs (20 oz) ground turkey or beef
2. 3/4 cups oats
3. 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
4. 1/4 cup milk (I used unsweetened, plain almond milk)
5. 2 tablespoons flax meal
6. 1 teaspoon salt
7. 1/4 teaspoon pepper

To Make The Barbecue Sauce

1. In a medium saucepan, sauté onions and garlic in butter/ghee over medium heat. When the onions begin to turn translucent, stir in the ketchup, pumpkin, water, vinegar, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Add sugar and seasonings, to taste. It'll depend on the flavor in your other ingredients. Let the sauce simmer on low until thoroughly heated. Set aside to use later.

To Make The Meatballs

1. Combine the ground meat, oats, onion, milk, flax meal, salt and pepper. Roll into 1" balls and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. I was able to make 28 meatballs, but it'll vary depending on the size you roll them.
2. Turn the broil feature on and let your oven preheat for a few minutes. Place the baking sheet on the middle rack in the oven and broil for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 350F. Use a spatula to transfer meatballs to a smaller baking dish. Pour barbecue sauce evenly over the meatballs, cover the dish with aluminum foil (optional) and return to the oven. Continue to bake the meatballs in the sauce for 15-20 minutes or until the meatballs are firm and cooked thoroughly on the inside. Serve hot.