By: Stephanie Shabangu, Penfield Children’s Center

Fall is a wonderful time to enjoy the colorful leaves, visit the pumpkin patch and…eat lots of sugar? That’s right. With the arrival of autumn comes added sugar in your child’s seasonal snacks. While it’s always fun to celebrate the season with your favorite foods, here is a simple, re-made recipe for making your go-to treat just a bit healthier.

Healthy Caramel Apples:

Instead of purchasing the already-made caramel dip that is loaded with sugar, try this delicious recipe that gets its sweetness from dates and requires no sugar or butter.


  • 6 apples of your choice
  • 16 ounces of medjool dates, pitted (about 40 dates total)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • Pinch of salt

Optional toppings:

  • Crushed up pretzels
  • Chopped peanuts
  • Raisons
  • Toasted coconut or almonds
  • Rice crispies
  1. Blend dates, vanilla extract, coconut milk and salt together in a mixer on high until smooth. If it becomes too runny, add extra dates.
  1. Cut your apples into slices as this is easier for children to eat than if they have to bite the whole apple off a stick like a traditional caramel apple.
  1. Pour your caramel mixture into a bowl and let your child dip apple slices into the sauce. Your child will also have fun customizing his/her apple with toppings that add color, texture and added flavors.

Aside from the healthy-nature of this snack, it’s a great choice because it is easy to make and requires no baking. Just make sure to keep your child away from the blade of the mixer if he/she is helping to prepare the sauce.

Make a day of caramel apple fun by first visiting an apple orchard with your child to pick the apples and then prepare your treat together when you get home.

What fun fall traditions do you enjoy with your children?


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