By Natalie Bickford, MS
The end of October is a magical time of year. The trees have fully changed colors, the leaves cover the ground and cozy sweater weather has finally arrived and is here to stay! And, of course, it’s Halloween season! Costumes, scary movies, pumpkin carving and lots of treats...
How to avoid halloween sugar overload
It can be hard to avoid overloading on sugar when there’s Halloween candy on display at grocery stores, being passed out at school, and big free-for-all bowls of it at work.
Since Halloween candies are mini versions of the regular size, it’s easy to lose track of how many you’ve had. It may not seem like you’ve eaten very much, but all of that sugar quickly builds up and soon the sugar crash sets in and you feel super fatigued and groggy. Here are a few tips on how to avoid overloading on sugar this time of year:
Often times when you think you’re hungry, all you really need is some water to help perk back up. Make sure you bring your large water bottle with you to work or school. You’re way more likely to drink water if you have a big bright colored reminder of it next to you at all times!
Eat your treats slowly
When you do eat a piece of candy, eat it slowly and with intention. Take small bites and savor it rather than putting the whole thing in your mouth. You’ll enjoy it a lot more and be less likely to reach for another one.
Eat nourishing meals
Make sure every meal you have is well rounded with plenty of complex carbs, healthy fats, protein and fiber. When your meals leave you satisfied, then you won’t get hangry two hours later and reach for a convenience snack like a piece of candy.
Check our favorite meal prep tips and recipes here!
Make your own Halloween treats
This is my most favorite tip! When you make your own healthy Halloween treats, you’ll realize how much better they taste and make you feel compared to the sugar-loaded junk at work. Regular Halloween candy is loaded with refined sugars and whole slew of ingredients that you’ve never even heard of. When you make your own healthy treats at home, you’ll know exactly what you’re eating and feel great about it.
Homemade Peanut Butter Snickers Bars
Halloween was never really the same when I got too old to go trick-or-treating. It’s not nearly as fun when you have to go buy your own candy! I remember the post-trick-or-treating candy trades that went down in my house. I always wanted to everyone's Snickers bars and Reese’s. Since we already have a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup recipe in Run Fast Cook Fast Eat Slow, I knew it was time to recreate my other favorite candy.
These Homemade Peanut Butter Snickers Bars will blow your mind! They are super simple to make and use ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen. Not to mention they don’t require a blender or food processor. A dense layer of ‘nougat’ and a soft chewy layer of peanut ‘caramel’ all wrapped up in dark chocolate. You have to try this one!
1 ¼ cup oat flour*
¾ cup almond flour
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
Peanut caramel layer:
¾ cup peanuts
½ cup natural unsalted peanut butter*
½ cup finely chopped dates (about 6 large dates)
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp oat flour
2 tbsp almond flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2 tbsp coconut oil
¼ cup chopped peanuts
Flaky sea salt
*To make your own oat flour, add 3 cups rolled oats to your blender. Blend into a fine powder, scraping down the sides as needed. This will yield about 3 cups oat flour.
*I used drippy peanut butter for this recipe. If your peanut butter is thicker and more pasty, add an extra tablespoon of coconut oil. If your peanut butter is salted, reduce to ¼ tsp salt.
Line a standard 9x5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
To make the nougat: In a medium bowl, add the oat flour, almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt. Mix together until thoroughly combined and a dough starts to form. Transfer to the prepared loaf pan and press into one even, compact layer. Place in the freezer.
To make the peanut caramel: Using the same bowl, add the peanuts, peanut butter, dates, coconut oil, oat flour, almond flour, vanilla extract and salt. Mix to combine. Transfer the peanut butter caramel mixture to the loaf pan and spread into one even, compact layer. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes to solidify.
To make the chocolate coating: In a small microwavable bowl, add the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each time, until the chocolate is completely melted, about 1 minute total.
Use the parchment paper to lift and remove the filling from the loaf pan. Place on a cutting board and cut into 12 bars. Roll each bar into the chocolate coating, scraping off any excess chocolate from the bottom, and place back onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle each bar with chopped peanuts and/or flaky sea salt, if using. Place in the freezer to chill for at least 30 minutes.
Store in an airtight container in the freezer or fridge. I like them best straight from the freezer but they can also be stored in the fridge for a softer texture.
Recipe and photos by Natalie Bickford
Natalie is a nutritionist and personal chef in Portland, OR who specializes in women's health and sports nutrition. She loves creating simple, nourishing meals and recipes to fuel your life. Find Natalie at nataliecooks.com.