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Paleo Snacks – Halloween Trade-Offs and Caramel Apples, Oh Yeah!!

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Paleo Snacks – Halloween Trade-Offs and Caramel Apples, Oh Yeah!!

Written by Dr. Kellyann Petrucci


Are Halloween sweets scaring you? They should! That spooky question continues to haunt us, year after year … How do we turn down the sugar faucet on Halloween without an ensuing battle?

As a Mom, I’ve learned a few tricks of the “trade” when it comes to eschewing sugar.

The Backstory to My favorite “Halloween Best- Practice Tip”

I grew up channeling teen detective Nancy Drew, and my passion for a good mystery never stopped.

As a new mom, I was the consumer watch dog … and unforgiving all the way. I was fearless about pulling the “A” game out and protecting my family as I searched for food intel wherever we went. (My “A” game goes like this: Are you SURE this doesn’t have any (insert food here … let’s say, MSG) because if it does, I will have a SEVERE “A”LLERGIC reaction right here and now!).

So, I was pretty horrified the first time my kiddos starting trick-or-treating. Oh gosh, I thought, sugar, food dyes, artificial everything, stuff I can’t pronounce! Seemed there was no way for this Nancy Drew to get out of this pickle (dill, of course, not sweet!). I was out-played, duped!

What I realized was there was no way to shut off the sugar faucet, because Halloween was like pop culture stuff — a normal part of a kid’s childhood, and I didn’t want to mess with that.

But what I did learn was that I could turn down the sugar faucet.

Here is this mom’s trick of the “trade” to help you deal with The Halloween Sugar Demon (™) and some recipes to help you turn down the sugar faucet in your home this Halloween!

Tips for the Great Halloween Trade-Off

Go Natural Purchase ahead of time candy that is made with more natural, non-cruddy ingredients, like natural fruits, and dyes from fruits and vegetables. Look for candy without bad fats and artificial ingredients. Think gummy bears, jelly beans, lolly pops, candy canes, gummy worms, snack-size chocolate bites. (Surf Sweets,Yummy Earth and Endangered Species Milk Chocolate are some to try.)

Get Out of the Candy Box You should also purchase ahead of time some non-candy choices (on the cheap) like Slinkies, yo-yo’s, glow sticks, baseball cards, coloring books, movies tickets, or whatever you can come up with.

Let the Trading Begin! When the kids get home after trick-or-treating, ask them to dump their candy into a pile. Then start the trade! They LOVE this, believe me! They’ll want baseball cards and movie tix over a Snicker’s bar. For some of the families I’ve worked with, the Great Halloween Trade-Off is the highlight of their kids’ night! (note: Be sure to have a waste basket or garbage bag at the ready for tossing out the bad stuff quickly and getting it into the garage.)

Top Tosses What’s best to trade, nutritionally speaking? Candy Corn, Dots, any candy with rainbow hues (think Skittles, Swedish Fish, Now and Laters, etc.)Try to stick to the chocolate candy bars that don’t have a lot of artificial colors, etc.

Happy Halloween! On that note, here, I share with you two of my favorite saaaaweeet recipes!



Prep time: 10 min • Yield: 6-8 servings




  • 2 large star fruits


  1. Wash the star fruits and slice them into 3/4-inch thick.
  2. Use a toothpick or steak knife to gently pry out any large seeds from the slices.
  3. Insert the pointy end of a bamboo skewer into the bottom of each star fruit slice, about 1-inch deep.
  4. Serve immediately or freeze for 20-minutes to create popsicle-style treats.

Tip: If you can’t get your hands on any fresh tomatoes, substitute jarred diced tomatoes.

Recipe Courtesy of Audrey Olson (



Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 30-60 min Yield: 8-12 apples, depending on the size




  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk– do not use a “lite” version
  • 1 cup mild flavored honey
  • 2 tablespoons ghee– you can also use palm shortening, pasture fed butter or coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8-12 organic apples; any kind will do. I like Fugi’s.
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped raw almonds, pecans or walnuts, optionals

Tools You Need

  • Candy Thermometer
  • Heavy Bottom Pan
  • Popsicle or Cake Pop Sticks


  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottom pan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat.
  2. Keep caramel at a very gentle boil until it is a beautiful golden color which will be the firm ball stage in candy making or between 245-250 degrees on a candy thermometer. (You are actually making candy!) This could take anywhere from 30 – 60 minutes. When you see that the caramel is coming to a golden color, continue to stir with a wooden spoon so it does not stick to the bottom of the pan and continue to check temperature.
  3. When you reach temperature, remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and cool for about 5 minutes then stir well. Repeat this process 2 or 3 times until the caramel becomes smooth and shiny.
  4. Wash well and insert sticks into apples. Dip into caramel to completely cover. If desired, roll in crushed nuts. Place on a sheet tray lined with parchment or waxed paper and let harden. You can also put them in the refrigerator to hasten the process.

Tip: For especially tasty apples, toast the nuts in a 350 degree oven until golden brown. Check every few minutes as nuts will burn very quickly.

Tip: You can make the caramel ahead, refrigerate it, and reheat in a double boiler to dip the apples. If the caramel hardens too fast as you are dipping, you can reheat as necessary in a double boiler. Dipping is easiest with the caramel is still warm.

Keep thinking big and living bold!

-Dr. Kellyann





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