Consider giving some healthier items to trick-or-treaters this year or at least don’t buy candy that you like because you will eat the leftovers! Remember Halloween starts the holiday season and the average weight gain over the holiday season is 1-2lb which may not seem like much, but the weight is usually not lost from year to year! Here are some healthy Halloween ideas:
Clementines or small oranges decorated like Jack-O-Lanterns (with non-toxic ink)
100% juice boxes or pouches
Snack-sized packages of pretzels, popcorn, dried fruit, trail mix, nuts or pumpkin seeds
Snack-sized packages of fresh fruits and vegetables, such as baby carrots or apple slices
Mini boxes of raisins 100% real fruit strips, ropes or leathers
Squeezable yogurt tubes or pouches
Sugar-free chewing gum
Non-edible items: (some items may not be appropriate for all ages-choking hazard)
Glow sticks or small glow-in-the-dark toys
Crayons and coloring books
Stickers or stamps
Soap bubble makers
Plastic spider rings or vampire teeth
Choose Nutrition For Your Meals and Snacks!
Gardens are providing an abundance of nutritious harvest right now so there is no excuse for not choosing nutrition for our meals and snacks. Next time you choose the food for your meal or snack, ask yourself if it will provide your body with nutrition to energize you to do the activities you want to do throughout the day. Or is what you are choosing providing bad fats, empty calories and sugar that can increase the level of inflammation in the body that promotes disease? Choose the foods that provide your body with macronutrients (complex carbohydrate, protein and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), antioxidants and phytochemicals. Plant foods (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and lentils, nuts and seeds) can give us most of the nutrients mentioned and are loaded with thousands of phytochemicals, which are compounds in the plants that protect the plant from getting disease. Phytochemicals will also help protect our body from getting disease!
Start at your next meal by choosing raw vegetables and dip instead of chips or a baked apple or pear for dessert instead of a hot fudge sundae. Choose a trail mix with dried fruit and nuts without the chocolate instead of M & M’s for your next snack. Instead of soda or a sweetened beverage, pour a glass of skim milk. Nutrition should be your choice most of the time because your health is worth it!
It is strawberry season in Michigan and here is a recipe using our fresh, local, and delicious berries that are loaded with nutrition and phytochemicals! Use it as a snack with the chips or the salsa as a topping on chicken or fish!
Cool Strawberry Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips
Serves 6 (1/ 4 cup salsa and 8 chips each)
1 cup chopped strawberries
½ cup chopped kiwi
½ cup chopped seeded cucumber
1 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. lime juice
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
Cinnamon Tortilla Chips:
2 Tbsp. sugar (try to use less-1 Tbsp.)
1 tsp cinnamon
6 whole grain tortillas, (6 inch)
For the salsa, mix all ingredients in medium bowl until well blended. Cover. Refrigerate 30 minutes to blend flavors.
For the chips, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Spray tortillas lightly with no stick cooking spray. Cut each into 8 wedges. Place on baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with cinnamon sugar mixture.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until crisp. Cool completely on wire rack. Serve with strawberry salsa.
Visit your local farmer’s market and find strawberries, honey and maybe spices!
Use your noodle
I tried a meatless dish today that tasted wonderful! It is so satisfying and filling you don’t miss meat, but the original recipe has chicken in it so you could add it if you want to. The original recipe also has over a teaspoon of salt, but it is not needed. The “noodles” are made of zucchini. A Veggetti® tool was used to make zucchini noodles. You could use other vegetables too like carrots, cucumbers, beets etc. and they are all low in carbohydrate if you are limiting them for blood sugar control and low in calories for weight loss or weight management. I talked with someone today who shreds the vegetables and freezes them until ready for use!
Arugula Pesto Vegetable Dish
Makes: 4 servings
- 4 cups arugula or spinach
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 medium zucchini
- 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- Grated Parmesan cheese, optional
Pulse arugula, basil, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor until chopped. While processing, gradually add ¼ cup oil in a steady stream until mixture is smooth (experiment with adding less). Shred zucchini lengthwise into long strands.
In a large skillet sprayed with olive oil, add zucchini strands. Cook and stir until zucchini is crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Add tomatoes, pesto, and pepper; toss to coat. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve with a slotted spoon.
Adapted from recipe on Taste of Home
The meatless meal for this month is Brussels Sprout and Sweet Potato Israeli Couscous Salad. I tend to make changes to all of the recipes and this time I changed a food in the title of the recipe! I used quinoa instead of couscous (to add protein), and left out the salt. I have never been a fan of Brussels sprouts, but I didn’t mind them in this salad and with the dressing! Enjoy!
For the Salad:
- 1lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (quartered if large)
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
- 2 ½ Tbsp. olive oil
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 2 cups water
- 1 ½ cups quinoa
- ½ cup sliced green onions
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup sliced raw almonds
For the Dressing:
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 ½ Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Pepper to taste
Directions For the Salad:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the sprouts and sweet potato on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with pepper. Toss to combine and spread in an even layer. Bake for about 20-22 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until the veggies are tender and starting to brown. Set aside. Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Remove from heat and add to a large bowl. To the large bowl, add the roasted veggies, the green onions, and cranberries and toss to combine. For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, vinegar, garlic, and pepper. Pour into the bowl with the quinoa and toss to combine. Season with pepper to taste.