You don’t have to miss out on Halloween fun just because you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). There are many healthy alternatives to Halloween candy, even though the majority of the sweets you’ll find trick-or-treating is packed with processed sugars and food additives that can exacerbate IBD symptoms and cause inflammation. Making your own treats gives you control over the ingredients, allows you to adapt them to your dietary needs, and prevents gastrointestinal (GI) issues. Here are five Halloween treats that are IBD-friendly.

Nachos with Peeled Apple

The time of year for apple picking has returned, and several therapeutic diets for IBD, like the Crohn’s Disease Exclusion Diet (CDED), list apples as “required foods” that must be consumed every day to promote a healthy gut flora. Apples in their whole form with the skins may aggravate an inflamed stomach during flares, but peeling apples makes them easier to digest, so you can still benefit from their gut-healthy properties.

Make apple “nachos” for a sweet Halloween treat that will also satisfy your stomach’s bugs by stacking peeled apple slices on a plate like tortilla chips and then sprinkling on plenty of tasty toppings like nut butter drizzles, micro dark chocolate chips, cinnamon, honey, or pure maple syrup. Try baking your peeled apple slices before adding toppings if you are actively suffering a flare-up to soften the apple fibres and make them easier to swallow. Limiting toppings that are heavy in roughage, such as whole nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, which are more difficult to digest, is also beneficial.

The preparation of apple nachos might be a terrific way to involve kids in the kitchen because they are so kid-friendly.

Cups of dark chocolate peanut butter

There aren’t many flavours that can compete with chocolate and peanut butter, but the traditional Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups given out on Halloween are loaded with unhealthy ingredients and excessive sugar. Fortunately, making your own peanut butter cups is incredibly simple. The only equipment needed is a freezer, a stove or microwave, and three pantry staples: dark chocolate bars, coconut oil, and peanut butter.

Melted dark chocolate should be poured into prepared tiny muffin tins. For five minutes, allow them to chill in the freezer. The muffin pan should then be placed back in the freezer for a few more minutes after adding a dollop of the peanut butter and coconut oil mixture. Put another layer of chocolate on top of the PB cups and place them in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to harden.

You can dress it up by sprinkling some flaky sea salt on top or by including extras like fruit puree for a PB&J twist, pumpkin spice for a seasonal touch, or puffed rice for crunch.

Dates stuffed with Snickers

If you don’t have IBD symptoms, a naturally sweet alternative made from dates can satisfy your appetite for candy bars. Pitted Medjool dates are simply stuffed with smooth peanut butter, then covered in melted dark chocolate. Once the chocolate has hardened, place the dates in the refrigerator.

To reduce GI irritation, choose creamy peanut butter rather than crunchy kinds or whole peanuts, like those found in Snickers bars. Creamy peanut butter supplies a serving of protein and healthy fats and is already partially digested, making digestion easier.

Dates are raw fruits that are high in fibre, so anyone who is having a flare-up should stay away from them. According to the University of Michigan IBD Program, they also contain potassium and magnesium, two vital minerals that are lost during an IBD flare. Dates are a delightful method to replenish essential nutrients in your diet.

Halloween Mousse

In addition to being inexpensive and easily accessible at this time of year at most grocery stores, pumpkin puree has a smooth texture that makes it simple to stomach. Pumpkin puree provides a range of minerals, including beta- and alpha-carotene, two antioxidants that reduce inflammation, which are particularly advantageous for people with IBD. Additionally, beta- and alpha-carotene are precursors to vitamin A, which means that the body converts them into vitamin A. Incorporating pumpkin into your diet will help you increase your intake and meet your needs since, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), people with IBD are more prone to vitamin A insufficiency. Pumpkin puree is also a good source of soluble fibre. According to research reported in the November 2021 issue of the journal Molecules, this type of fibre possesses prebiotic qualities that feed beneficial gut bacteria to sustain a healthy gut microbiota.

Heat some pumpkin puree in the microwave or on the stovetop, stir in some cinnamon, a tablespoon or two of plain Greek yoghurt for creaminess, and a dash of honey for sweetness to produce a wonderful and healthy pumpkin mousse treat. A decadent-tasting pumpkin mousse is the end result, which has a similar texture to pumpkin pie but is lighter, gentler on the digestive system, and lower in sugar. Greek yoghurt also offers calcium, protein, and a good amount of probiotics to help fill your gut with healthy microorganisms.

Fruit Gummies Made at Home

Gummy candies are often prepared with a lot of high-fructose corn syrup and artificial colours, but you can easily make your own by mixing genuine fruit, gelatin, lemon juice, water, a little salt, and honey for sweetness. Your chosen fruit should first be pureed with a little bit of water. After straining the mixture, softly whisk the remaining ingredients to prevent clumping while heating the pureed fruit over the stovetop in a small pot. Place silicone candy moulds with the mixture, then chill for at least two hours. The gummies can be removed from their moulds and eaten to enjoy this genuinely tasty substitute for gummy bears.

Collagen, the most prevalent protein in the human body and a component of the intestinal lining, is the source of the protein gelatin, which is a substance found in animal bones. Although there are few research on collagen supplementation in humans, the Cleveland Clinic notes that collagen-making amino acids must be consumed for the body to produce its own collagen. Gelatin, which has all the amino acids found in collagen, can aid by giving you the building blocks required to repair collagen-rich tissues like the lining of your intestines. Additionally, adding gelatin to food offers a source of protein that is simple to digest.

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