Healthier Halloween Ideas
Nutrition Advice from Your Pawling Hannaford Dietitian
It’s not easy to take the spotlight off treats on Halloween. But, given that it’s a holiday all about collecting candy and other sugary delights, we need to do just that. Add to it that for many kids, Halloween offers more than just one night of trick or treating, and we must do what we can to balance other frightful festivities too. With some thought and creativity, we can keep it fun, full of spirit, and even a bit healthy.
Creepy Carrot Fingers
If you have been tasked with contributing to a spooky soiree, then consider fun ways to turn a veggie plate into a spirited plate of vegetables that kids are drawn to. Arrange colorful produce in the shape of a pumpkin, owl or other fun design. Or consider turning carrots into creepy fingers or owl feathers, or grapes or cherry tomatoes into eyes. (I have the resource below for pictures of this.)
If there is one place where you can easily control the sugar, it’s in the beverages you offer children at class parties and other gatherings. Flavored seltzers, fresh produce and all-natural food colors come together to make fun beverages kids will be drawn too. Take it a step further with colorful, shaped ice cubes (use a “Halloween theme” ice tray). We should try to avoid giving kids caloric, sugary beverage every day and especially on Halloween.
Desserts for Little Ghosts
If it’s a party, then kids will be looking for baked treats. They also are likely to grab everything that is available on the dessert table, which is usually a lot at gatherings where many people are contributing. Consider making mini cupcakes, brownie bites and other petite desserts that are well matched to little hands, as well as trying whole-wheat pastry flour and other “better for you” ingredients. Or be the person who contributes small take-out boxes instead of dessert so that kids don’t feel like they need to take and eat everything they see at the same time.
Green guacamole, orange carrots, black bean pasta, small cups of orange soup and fun cheddar-cheese cuts are just some of the ways you can bring fun to your Halloween table while keeping the choices healthy and nutritious. For something fun and different, use small cups and layer diced pineapple, mandarin oranges and vanilla yogurt to make a “candy corn parfait.” (You can even top it with a few mini chocolate chips.) Colors and shapes go a long way with young party goers who will be so thrown off by black noodles and pumpkin shaped cheese that they won’t even realize that they are eating wholesome food. Looking for more ideas? Visit GuidingStars.com online to check out my blog posts full of healthier Halloween ideas and to see images of produce plates that will delight your young partygoers.
As your local Hannaford Dietitian, I’m pleased to be sharing my advice and simple tips. Please visit www.hannaford.com/dietitians for my in-store schedule of classes, demonstrations, and store tours or call (845) 855-0553 for more information.
Roasted Sweet Potato & Carrot Soup (2 Guiding Stars)
This recipe may not exactly fit the perfect Halloween scene, but the orange hue and quick prep time makes it perfect for a busy fall evening. For more healthful recipes and information about the Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program, visit www.guidingstars.com.
3 med. sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 lg. carrots, peeled and chopped
2 T. olive oil divided
1/4 t. paprika
1/4 t. cumin
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
2 onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 c. low-sodium vegetable stock
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Place the sweet potatoes and carrots on a baking tray. Toss with half of the oil, add the paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Bake 20 – 30 minutes, until vegetables are soft.
While vegetable are roasting, heat remaining oil in a large pan. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer.
Add roasted vegetables to stock and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes.
Take the soup off the heat and blend using an immersion blender.