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Guilt-free Halloween treats for your family

Amanda Nietzel is a New York-based editor and writer. When she is not out exploring New York City, you can find her deep in the pages of a book.

Ghoulish & Guilt-free sweets

Halloween is known for many things, but health food is definitely not one of them. Every year, children fill up sacks of candy while trick-or-treating while adults can't help but grab handfuls of candy out of their own candy bowls. Even worse, Halloween parties are frighteningly full of decadent Halloween-themed desserts. It is no wonder that the end of the year holiday weight gain starts with Halloween! Instead of succumbing to the typical seasonal sweets, opt for ghoulish treats that are tasty - and guilt-free. Your kids and your waist will thank you.

Franken Fudge recipe

Makes 64 pieces

Keeping your children's – or your own – sugar rush at bay is a challenge this time of year. Try these sugar-free treats as a healthy alternative to candy bars.

1 (14-ounce) can skim evaporated milk
3 tablespoons cocoa
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon granulated sugar substitute
Dash salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups unsweetened crushed cereal
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

1. Combine milk and cocoa in saucepan over low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until cocoa is dissolved.

2. Add butter, sugar substitute, salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add cereal, using a wooden spoon to combine. Set aside and cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Divide mixture in half and roll each half into a log, 8 inches long. Sprinkle nuts on a piece of foil or wax paper and roll each log in the nuts to evenly coat.

5. Wrap each log in waxed paper and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. When ready to eat, cut each log into 32 slices.

Source: Personal Chef Michele Thompson, MS

Trick-or-treat trail mix recipe

Makes 9 (1/2-cup) servings

Trail mix is irresistibly delicious. Your family will love this nutritious Halloween-themed treat.

1 cup pretzel sticks or mini pretzel twists
1 cup reduced-fat cheese crackers
1 cup lightly-salted, roasted or party peanuts (or similar nut)
1 cup orange or black dried fruit (raisins or dried apricots or dried peaches)
1/2 cup Halloween chocolate candies (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a big bowl and toss to mix well. Use a 1/2-cup measure to scoop out 1/2 cup of the mixture into a zip-top or plastic bag. Tie the ends closed with orange and black curling ribbon or decorative wire.


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