Halloween Cupcakes

So it’s getting close to Halloween, and you’re just starting to imagine all of the candy you’ll be collecting. Then it dawns on you that you’re not the one going out trick or treating: You’re the candy giver!

But there’s a problem. See, you’re not exactly the candy-giving type, are you? No, you’re the kind of person who would much rather these kids get a nutritional snack rather than something that’ll rot their teeth out. You’d rather give them strong bones and a functional stomach than anything kids would actually appreciate. We can respect that.

The good news is you don’t have to risk the ire of those costumed maniacs. Healthy snacks can taste good! And here are the top 11 safe and healthy snacks you can dish out that will leave your conscience and their teeth intact.

1: Popcorn Balls

These are simple and easy balls of popcorn. You can get bags of premade popcorn balls from most stores. However, if you’re the DIY type, here’s how to make them:

First, pop up 5 quarts of popcorn. Then, combine ¾ cup light corn syrup, ¼ cup margarine, two teaspoons cold water, and two ⅝ cups confectioners’ sugar in a large pot and heat until melted. Remove from heat and add the popcorn. Before the mixture completely cools, coat your hands with vegetable oil to help prevent sticking and roll the popcorn into balls.

2: Trail Mix

There are a number of different trail mixes that you can buy in bulk, or you can make your own. While most trail mixes use nuts, you may want to be careful as some kids are highly allergic to nuts.

3: Raisins

Some kids love them, some not so much, so it’s going to be a hard sell. But if you buy those little boxes of raisins, they kind of look like candy – or are at least transported like it. So double down on the candy likeness by adding a quarter cup of chocolate chips to a cup of raisins then portioning them out in appropriate serving sizes. That way, the kids get a taste of chocolate while still enjoying the nutrients.

4: Sweet Potato Fries

Now, this one’s fun because the kids will not know what this is, and you will not tell them. It’s a surprise! This idea is more suited for having kids over at a Halloween party than giving them out as treats.

Take some sweet potatoes, cut them up into wedge-like shapes, then toss them into a bowl along with salt, olive oil, and whatever spices you deem necessary. Place the tossed fries on a strong baking sheet that you’ve left in an oven set at 450 degrees, then put the baking sheet back into the oven for ten minutes. Flip the fries over, wait another ten minutes. Then, open the oven and retrieve your fries!

5: Baby Carrots

You don’t even have to do anything special with these. Carrots are a sweet snack great for most kids. However, they may not seem like a sweet treat — if you really want to brighten their day, why not try this carrot milkshake!

6: Caramel Apples

Regular old apples aren’t going to make the kids like you. They’re a staple in the “I can’t believe they gave me this” trick-or-treating lexicon. You have to dip these things in caramel if you’re going to hand them out to Darth Vader and Mabel Pines.

7: Yogurt Tubes

Now, this is something that is a treat. Gogurt was all the rage for a while, and on the whole, yogurt is one of the tastier snacks on the healthy spectrum. So your grocery should have a selection of yogurt either in fun tubes or convenient snack-sized tubs.

8: Granola Bars

By far the easiest and the most immediately appealing option. Nothing special with no work involved. You just purchase some bars from your local grocery store and hand them out. Solid choice.

9: Pretzels

Alright, so it’s not the healthiest option, but it’s also not candy. There are also whole wheat options for pretzels, and often you can find them in snack size packets, which is fun!

10: Smoothie Pouches

These are different from yogurt tubes because they are larger and filled with smoothies instead of yogurt. They’re also more freely available, and most stores have them in six-packs. In addition, a “smoothie” is often an easier sell to the little ones than “yogurt.”

11: Blueberries

They kind of look like candy, and some candy has blueberry flavor, so this is a good logical step, right? However, blueberries can be a bit squishy if mishandled. So you will probably have to invest in some small, cheap plastic containers if you are going to go this route.

Stretching

The temperature is dropping, the air is fresh (well, most of it), and you’ve been in the house for a really, really long time (for a good reason, but still). So it seems to you that it’s time for some jogging!

Do you need a run-down of all the ways jogging is good for you? No, you don’t because you’re already decided to go jogging. You’ve got your shoes on and earbuds in, and you are ready. But hold your horses there! You can’t just go for a good exercise run right out the gate! I mean, you could. But if you’re just getting started on this whole “exercise” thing, starting with a mile run isn’t good for you in the long run (the pun wasn’t intended, but let’s just pretend it was because it was a good one).

So, how should you start? And just as importantly, how should you end?

Warm-Ups

Squats

Squats are perhaps one of the easier exercises to jump right into, and they’re important for stretching the thigh muscles and making sure your knees don’t give out. They are performed by attempting to sit in an imaginary chair, lowering yourself until the point where the seat would be (where the thighs are horizontal with the ground), realizing it isn’t there, and standing back up.

Keep doing this until your legs are good and warmed up, but stop before you want a real, physical chair. You still need to be able to jog after the warm-up.

Side-Lunges

Side lunges not only train those leg muscles, glutes, and whatnot, but they also focus your balance. You might see yourself as a champion of balance, as you’ve walked most of your life and have only fallen over a few times. But keeping your weight distributed evenly serves as a well-rounded exercise well.

Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Do a side-lunge by taking a wide step to one side and by leaning to that side while pushing your hips back. Bend that side’s knee until it gets to a 45-degree angle, hold it there for 3 to 5 seconds, then stand back up. Do the other side, and stand back up. We would say give it ten good reps on each side for a good warmup.

Leg Lifts

Make sure you remember to kickstart your cardio and run your leg muscles hot by doing some leg lifts! Imagine you’re jogging in slow motion. Take turns lifting each leg as high as you can while bending the knee and hold it a second or two before you bring it back down, taking deep breaths as you do. You don’t have to do it for long, maybe a minute or two.

So you’ve done your warmups, and you’ve run off into the wild green yonder with some upbeat tunes blasting in your head. Now you’re back home, and you’re dripping with sweat. How are you supposed to get anything done when you’re still in sweat mode? You cool off!

Cooldowns

Walking

As a cool down to all that jogging movement, you need to keep the movement going before you can finally stop moving. So, on the final stretch home, it might be a good idea to slow it down to a walk and simply enjoy the atmosphere. You might want to shake out your arms to do some neck stretches as you do.

Stretches

At this point, after a good jog, your muscles are tense because they’ve been doing a lot for you. Time to give them a massage, which is what stretching is to the thighs, in a sense. There are a few stretches you can do, but we’re going to focus on the quad stretch.

To do a quad stretch, lean against the wall on one side. From there, use the hand on your other side, and grab your ankle, bringing your foot up and behind you until your heel touches your backside. Hold that pose for 30 to 40 seconds, then do the other side. We also suggest doing this while you do some slow breathing, breathing in for four seconds and then exhaling for seven seconds.

Drink Lots of Water

Think of how much water you’re planning to drink, then drink more than that. Hydration is vital, literally. During warmups, at intervals while jogging, and during cooldowns, drink a lot of water because your body has been sweating and working hard. By sufficiently hydrating, you can help to prevent cramps and other issues that sometimes plague joggers.

Now go out and enjoy this beautiful weather with an energizing and revitalizing jog!