Healthy Halloween? Pumpkin Recipes and Eating Tips
While many parents may feel that their children are on a "sugar-high" during Halloween, sugar has not been shown to cause hyperactivity. However, Halloween is a great time to teach children the "trick" to balancing the gooey candy they love with healthy Halloween eating—and foods that are both delicious and satisfying!
Healthy Halloween Eating Tips
- Serve children a balanced meal before the Halloween festivities begin so that children aren't tempted to eat their candy before they get home. Include this festive Pumpkin and Mashed Potato Soup.
- Discuss with children in advance how much and how often they are allowed to eat their Halloween candy.
- Offer trick-or-treat candy as a substitute for dessert after lunch and dinner or a few pieces along with a healthy snack.
- Mix in healthy snacks along with Halloween candy, like string cheese, vegetables with dip, trail mix, yogurt or a glass of milk—for dunking cookies and washing down candy.
- Model healthy habits to your children by practicing restraint when dipping into the candy jar yourself.
- Remember that dessert can be part of a healthy diet. Overly restrictive rules on candy can make it even more desirable to your kids.
Many children may not realize the wonderful foods made from the very food they just carved and decorated! Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, calcium and potassium, as well as fiber. Let your kids help you make a nutritious pumpkin recipe!
Add some canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice to your favorite pancake recipe or to our Whole Wheat Pancakes for a yummy breakfast. Top off the pancakes with vanilla yogurt for an extra boost of bone-building calcium!
- 3 cups mashed potatoes
- One-half cup canned pumpkin
- 1 1/2 cups fat-free half and half or low-fat milk
- 1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 5 tablespoons light sour cream, or plain Greek yogurt
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Prepare mashed potatoes using milk (or use leftovers). Add the pumpkin and milk or half and half in medium sauce pan, whisk well to blend.
2. Add cheese and spices, stir to combine. Cover pan and simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add pepper and salt, if desired.
3. Spoon into serving bowls. Swirl a tablespoon of light sour cream into each bowl. Serve hot.
Calories: 153, Fat 3g, Sodium 462, Carbohydrates 24g, Protein 9g, Fiber 3g, Calcium 192
More Creative Halloween Activities
- Host a pumpkin-carving contest at your home or school. Invite other parents or older siblings to supervise use of carving tools. Instead of carving, give younger children craft paint or magic markers to create their very own jack-o-lanterns.
- Make an edible scarecrow! Offer a prize for the "healthiest" scarecrow made from fruit and vegetables and other foods from all the food groups!
Have a healthy Halloween!
How will you balance Halloween treats with balanced eating?
Trina Robertson, MS, RD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition. As a HealthyEating.org Mom she shares her positive approach to healthy eating with the goal of inspiring others to prepare and enjoy foods from all the food groups. As a Project Manager with the Dairy Council of California, Trina develops, evaluates and promotes nutrition education materials for students and adults. At home she enjoys cooking and sharing meals with her family. Her most rewarding accomplishment is that her boys are good eaters and are learning to cook. Follow Trina on Twitter @TrinaR_RD and find more Healthy Eating ideas on Facebook.