How to make freezer fudge

Have some healthy Halloween treats on hand to indulge your cravings

The scariest thing about Halloween is how much processed sugar is available at every turn! Here are some recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth and still keep your blood sugar in check.

One easy way to start switching up your traditional Halloween treat recipes is to experiment with healthier ingredient substitutions. When a recipe calls for white granulated sugar, I will frequently use a combination of coconut sugar, agave, Stevia, honey and/or maple syrup. Coconut sugar has a slightly lower glycemic impact than white sugar and is still in a granulated form. Stevia is about 300x sweeter than sugar so a little goes a long way! Be careful, though, if you use too much, it can have a slightly chemical aftertaste. Stevia is usually available as a powder or liquid. Agave and maple syrup both break down more slowly than white sugar so they give you less of a sugar high. Since they are syrups, it takes a little more work to substitute them for white sugar. Honey has a myriad of benefits, including containing some micronutrients and antioxidants. Never give honey to a child under one year old as there is a small risk of botulism poisoning.

Using gluten-free flours can be a tricky substitution in terms of blood sugar impact. Many alternative flours are potato or rice starch and very high glycemic. They break down into sugar in the blood quickly and can cause blood sugar regulation issues (an energy rollercoaster, headaches and even diabetes). Almond flour is a better alternative as it contains fewer carbs and some amount of protein and healthy fats. It does contain more calories, and baked goods will typically not rise because it lacks gluten. A good approach is to combine half almond with half all-purpose gluten-free flour. You will definitely need to experiment to find a good balance when using ingredient substitutions. If you are not gluten-sensitive, organic whole wheat flour is also a good option.

  1. Healthy Puppy Chow (aka Muddy Buddies). For those of you with children, Halloween can be a time to make a delicious treat together. Unfortunately, so many of the recipes out there are high in refined sugars and simple carbs. This naturally leads to a massive sugar high and then an inevitable, cranky crash. There are some simple ways to avoid these pitfalls, though. Adding healthy fat and protein to your snacks is a good way to provide sustained energy. Sugar breaks down quickly in the body and rushes into the blood stream (sugar high) where it is rapidly metabolized and either used by the body or stored as fat (sugar crash). When we add healthy fats and protein, we introduce foods that provide a more sustained energy release. Many recipes utilize nut butters and protein powder for these elements. Look for recipes that substitute eggs, nut butter and protein powder for some of the flour and/or sugar. Adding fiber to treats also slows the absorption of sugar and offers steady energy instead of just a quick burst. Utilizing low-glycemic fruits can be a healthy source of fiber that also adds natural sweetness – apples, berries, apricots, pears and plums are all considered low-glycemic fruits. This is a perfect recipe to make with the family to have a healthier version of a familiar treat. It incorporates protein powder instead of powdered sugar to coat the muddy buddies. Recipe here.
  2. Freezer fudge. This is one of my favorite treat recipes of all time. It is so easy to prepare – just mix and freeze. It lasts a long time and is a healthy snack packed with protein and healthy fats. You can play around with almost any nut butter to make this snack. I tend to steer people away from peanut butter as it has more pro-inflammatory fats than any other nut butter. Instead, choose butters made from almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts, macadamias, sunflower seeds, etc. Protein and fat will help you feel more satiated and there is enough sweetness in this recipe to still feel like it is a treat. When looking for nut butters, read the labels and make sure no corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup or sugar has been added. You don’t need them in your almond butter. Look for the plainest stuff you can find. Ideally, the only ingredient will be almonds. Sometimes, the more natural nut butters experience a separation of the solids and oils. This just means you need to stir them before using or eating. Recipe here
  3. Caramel Apple Nachos. Need I say more? This is an easy fall treat that everyone can sit down and share. Slice the apples thin and spread them out on a plate (like nachos); then add a variety of sweet toppings. You can make your own chocolate topping and caramel drizzle or buy them at the store. Dark chocolate has more antioxidants than milk chocolate; and if it is too bitter, you can sweeten it with a bit of honey or Stevia. Apples contain phytonutrients and fiber to offset the small amount of sugar in the toppings. Add chopped nuts for texture as well as healthy fats. Use a mixture of green, yellow and red apples to make this dessert as beautiful as it is delicious! Shredded coconut is an optional topping – it doesn’t fly in my home, but it may be a big hit in yours. Find the full recipe here.
  4. Pumpkin chocolate dessert cups. Nothing says fall and Halloween like pumpkins. This recipe is basically a peanut butter cup with a pumpkin filling instead of peanut butter. Pumpkin is a good source of antioxidants, vitamin A and fiber. It is sweet and flavorful and pairs well with chocolate. Get the recipe here.
  5. Apple slices with almond butter and cocoa. This is a simple, healthy treat to whip up for kids and adults. Slice up your apple but keep the peel on because it is full of nutrients! Spread a glob of almond butter (or other nut butter) onto each slice. Sprinkle cocoa powder over the whole plate to add more depth and flavor. If this is too bitter, consider adding a sprinkle of Stevia or coconut sugar as well. This treat is a perfect combination of healthy fats, fiber and protein, with a touch of sweetness.

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Dr. Jessica Keating
Owner & Physician , Willow Clinic of Natural Medicine
Jessica Lodal Keating graduated with her doctorate in chiropractic medicine from National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) in Lombard, IL in December of 2016. She graduated summa cum laude and salutatorian of her class. She completed a primary care internship at the in-house clinic in the Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center in downtown Chicago. There she was able to provide natural approaches to health and wellness to an under-served population. She also led efforts to solicit supplement donations from local doctors in order to provide these supplements to patients free of charge. During her time at NUHS, Dr. Keating also studied traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and became certified to perform acupuncture, moxabustion and fire cupping. She uses the wisdom of eastern medicine to complement her holistic approach to assessing each individual patient and treating the whole person. She participated in various other seminars and trainings over the course of her studies including MPI’s full-spine adjusting seminar and Apex’s Fundamentals of Functional Blood Chemistry. Dr. Keating also completed her Doctorate of Naturopathic medicine in 2018, graduating valedictorian and summa cum laude. Dr. Keating has worked in several natural primary care offices in the greater Chicagoland area. She is also a full-time naturopathic clinician at National University of Health Sciences. There she is able to help shape the next generation of naturopathic doctors. She has a home-call practice where she treats patients in the comfort of their own homes all around Chicagoland. Dr. Keating loves balancing private practice with teaching and clinical supervision. Dr. Jessica Keating received her bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon before deciding to attend NUHS. After her undergrad degree, she grew frustrated with the field of political science and sought a new career path. Her own health had been dramatically improved through diet, yoga and herbal medicine. Because of these experiences, she decided to deepen her understanding of natural medicine by pursuing a higher degree. Dr. Keating remains committed to her own health journey on a personal and professional level. She aims to help others thrive and maintain optimal health by guiding them down the same path and educating her patients by empowering them to take their health into their own hands. Dr. Keating practices holistic, natural primary care. She treats GI conditions, autoimmune disorders, women’s health, sleep issues, heart disease, diabetes, anxiety, depression, back pain as well as working with patients on weight loss and general wellness promotion. She treats pediatric, adult and geriatric patients using diet, lifestyle modification, herbal medicine, physical medicine and acupuncture. In her free time, Dr. Keating loves reading, biking, cooking and playing with her cats. Dr. Keating also enjoys yoga, tennis, rollerblading, going to the movies and travelling with her husband. She has been to 28 different countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America.
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