Alternative, healthy treats to serve at your next Halloween party

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif. (KABC) -- Kids see Halloween as a night filled with fun, frights, fantasy and food, while parents worry about sugar shock, food allergies and safety.

But somehow the two meet in the middle with common sense concepts that allow everyone to have a good time.

"You want some really fun, maybe gooey-looking things that are a little scary. Kids love that stuff," said Michelle Harrison, creator of SideChef.

Harrison, who creates recipes for the free cooking app known as Sidechef, says it's important to fuel kids up with a balanced meal before they party or go trick-or-treating. Otherwise they're likely to be eating loads and loads of sugar and empty calories.

One fun example is turkey meatball "eyeballs," which contain olives and provolone cheese in a bloody marinara sauce.

Zombie guts are quickly assembled by mixing cream cheese with low sugar jam in lieu of cakes and cookies.

Harrison went with bloody biscuits, which in reality is reduced cherry pie filling on biscuits that are maybe a little too convincing.

But what to do with the trick-or-treat candy is always an issue.

"Many years ago, I employed a rule of less sugar. But it didn't work, it just ruined Halloween," Natasha Swords, of Topanga, said.

Swords has a 9 and 12-year-old, and she doesn't keep candy in the house, but gives them a few days to enjoy their stash.

"So they're allowed about 10 pieces a day for three days. Whatever is left after that we have to donate. It cannot stay in the house, because then I'll end up eating it," Swords said.

Halloween is one of the many upcoming food holidays, so talking about moderation should start early, and for kids of all ages, you want to teach them to sit and savor those foods that they truly enjoy.

Offer a spread that has good protein, fat and fiber sources to keep blood sugars even for the night ahead.

Harrison's recipes can be found on the SideChef app, but she gave ABC7 her eyeball recipe:

Eyeball Meatballs
Makes approximately 14 meatballs

1 can sliced black olives
1 package pre-sliced provolone cheese
large jar of marinara
sword toothpicks

1 lb ground turkey
1 cup finely diced white onion
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1. Preheat the broiler element of the oven and arrange an oven rack about 6 inches beneath the broiler.
2. Finely chop the onion.
3. Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey, onion, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, egg, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper with clean hands. Careful to not over mix!
5. Roll the meat into golf ball-sized balls and arrange them on the baking sheet with at least 2 inches between each of them.
6. Broil the meatballs for about 5 minutes, until the tops begin to brown and crisp.
7. Turn off the broiler and set the oven to 350 degrees. Continue cooking the meatballs for another 5 minutes, or until they are cooked through.
8. To make the "eyeballs" cut the provolone slices into 1-inch wide small circles.
9. Spread 1 cup of the marinara (heated or room temperature) onto a serving platter.
10. Stack a provolone circle and then an olive atop the meatball. Skewer a toothpick through to keep it intact.
11. Arrange the meatballs on the platter and dribble more marinara on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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