Spread calorie wealth for Halloween health

With Halloween coming up, I am anticipating a five-pound weight gain. Everything about Halloween — from candy to soda to alcohol and even cookies, screams calories — or maybe it just leaves me screaming about them.

There are alternatives to this caloric torture.  Eating baked pumpkin seeds and donating the candy you would otherwise inhale are just two of these wonderful options.

Baking pumpkin seeds is an easy and tasty way to recycle the guts of your custom jack-o-lantern. All you have to do is this:

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F
2. Clean seeds with water and dry them with paper towels
3. Cover seeds in vegetable oil and toss with salt
4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally

I found this recipe here, and it works well. The site also suggested adding different spices as alternatives to salt for flavor variety. Even if they don’t turn out well, there is little harm in baking pumpkin seeds because most people just throw them away. And if you end up with a bad batch, you’ll probably have plenty more to use in your experiments.

Not only are pumpkin seeds a cheap Halloween treat, they are also better for you than candy, especially if you like to have something to munch on for the entire night. If you don’t want to bother with the kitchen, you can eat the raw green kernel inside the outer cream-colored shell for a quick snack.

Another more admirable way to cut down on unhealthy snacks for the next month is to donate your candy to a cause. Donating candy is something that a lot of people don’t think about, but to people overseas, it can make a true difference.

One of the major programs taking donations now is Operation Gratitude. This is a program that takes the candy you donate and sends it to troops overseas in a Halloween care package. You can even donate dental hygiene products to help them keep their teeth clean after having a nice Halloween treat. There are just a few steps to getting those calories that you don’t need shipped out, never to be seen again. You can find out more here.

There is no reason to be upset because you ate too much terrible food on Halloween night, but if you are feeling a little bad about gorging yourself, pumpkin seeds and the great feeling of helping other people will get you through Halloween without all the calories.