Who doesn’t love Halloween? Costumes, sweets, and pumpkin everything—yes please!
But if we aren’t careful, trying to create an AIP Halloween can turn into a positively spooky occasion for our healing diets. Between those mini chocolate bars (definitely not AIP) and that spiked cider (nope, not AIP either!) it can feel like a minefield.
The good news is, with a little forethought, it’s possible to celebrate the season while staying on your healing path.
At Strength in Food, we’re rooting for your success! So we’re giving you our best tips on managing an AIP Halloween, whether you’re hosting a party or just settling in for an evening with your favorite scary movie.
1. Don’t Focus on Food
Our number one tip for enjoying Halloween on the AIP? Don’t focus on food.
A little surprising coming from Strength in Food? Maybe, but it shouldn’t be!
By prioritizing the fun of putting together costumes, the adventure of a hayride, or the creative expression of pumpkin carving, we can reframe what’s really important about holidays. It certainly isn’t the food!
The truth is that, while food is healing, it also has the power to harm. Many of us are seeking a balance between enjoying life and protecting our health. That often means enjoying an indulgence that’s a little less healthy in the name of pleasure.
And that’s okay!
But when you decided to embrace the Autoimmune Protocol, you made a choice to focus a bit more on the nourishing, healing qualities of food and a bit less on their potential for pleasure.
As our co-founder, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne puts it, “those who are typically quite healthy can tolerate less-optimal foods than those who aren’t. You can think of the Autoimmune Protocol as a pickier version of the Paleo diet; it accepts only those foods that are clear winners.”
Around Halloween, it’s tempting to make a “cleaner” version of your favorite Halloween treat. We think this strategy is a great way to get over feeling deprived (so much that below, we’ll list some of our favorite recipe swaps!)—but it only works if food isn’t the focus.
In fact, some of our favorite suggestions for celebrating the season have nothing to do with food.
- Host a Halloween Movie Marathon (the scream level is up to you!)
- Carve or paint pumpkins with your kiddos.
- Challenge yourself to craft a handmade mask or costume.
- Take a neighborhood walk to admire changing leaves.
This mindset shift from "food-focused" to "activity-focused" is subtle, but by focusing on all the non-food ways to enjoy and AIP Halloween, we can set ourselves up to enjoy the season without feeling deprived.
2. For an AIP Halloween, Make Healthier Swaps
Now that we’ve talked mindset around AIP Halloween, let’s talk healthier swaps!
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying an AIP treat every now and again, and for those moments, a few of our Strength in Food ingredient staples are here to help!
Otto’s Cassava Flour is a standout AIP baking ingredient and makes a regular appearance in our carefully-curated monthly boxes. This grain-free baking alternative is a perfect building block for egg-free recipes and tastes very similar to wheat flour.
We love how creatively the AIP recipe blogging community has used cassava flour! These Cassava Flour Iced Sugar Cookies from Beyond the Bite would be adorable shaped like pumpkins or ghosts, and perfect for a school celebration since they’re nut-free.
Or, for a complementary fall flavor, these Sweet Potato Kitchen Sink Cookies from Adventures in Partaking rely on sweet potato and are festively orange.
And The Paleo Mom’s Apple Pie (AIP variation) is a perfect way to use up your bounty from the orchard.
If you’ve received our box yet, you probably know we’re also major fans of Vital Proteins. Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin is another AIP baking staple we love to see in Halloween treats. Gelatin yields a fun jiggle that kiddos love, and when you’re using high-quality grassfed gelatin like Vital Proteins’, it’s healing for joints, skin, and the gut, as well. Double whammy!
These Healing Halloween Gummies from Unbound Wellness are the perfect “not-treat” to enjoy around Halloween since they’re only lightly sweetened with honey. If you’re longing for some sour gummies during Trick or Treat, try these AIP and Paleo Blueberry Sour Gummies from What Great Grandma Ate—we love the fun shapes!
Finally, don’t forget that fresh fruit is a perfectly AIP alternative to sweets. Fruit can be enjoyed in moderation on the AIP, and with a little bit of invention, can make some spooktacular shapes! For instance, these Tangerine Pumpkins + Banana Ghosts from Weelicious would be a perfect addition to your Halloween spread—just substitute carob chips for chocolate chips to keep it AIP.
3. Take Stress off the AIP Halloween Menu
Our final tip for a fun and festive AIP Halloween? Let Strength in Food’s resources take the stress out of planning!
Listen, we know that on holidays, you’re pulled in a million different directions. Between rounding up costumes, planning for Trick or Treaters, and crafting a contribution to your little ones’ Halloween celebration, you’re pulled in a million different directions.
And your own health? It falls by the wayside.
Halloween is just the start of a holiday season that, for those of us on a healing diet, can feel like one long slog of deprivation. An AIP Halloween doesn’t have to be that way.
With a Strength in Food Subscription, you’ll receive ingredients like Otto’s Cassava Flour and Vital Proteins Gelatin, along with unique recipes that tie all your ingredients together. Every subscription also comes with meal plans and easy-to-read explanations of the in’s and out’s of the Autoimmune Protocol.
And with optional add-ons of whole-food supplements from Vital Proteins, 1-on-1 coaching with an AIP Certified Coach, and meal delivery from True Fare, you can customize our subscriptions to fit your family’s lifestyle.
Don’t let Halloween derail your efforts—subscribe to Strength in Food and put healing on the menu, no matter what.